World Well being Group officers on Wednesday expressed considerations that some nations within the Americas have been prematurely scaling again insurance policies to manage the coronavirus, and urged them to double down on efforts to extend vaccination and testing as circumstances stay excessive in Europe.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Well being Group, a regional arm of the W.H.O., stated that whereas coronavirus circumstances had fallen within the Americas, they have been rising in some locations, together with the Caribbean and Canada, which has reported a 26 % enhance in circumstances over the previous two weeks.
“We all know what has occurred elsewhere foreshadows what our area will face,” Dr. Etienne stated throughout a convention name with reporters. “Time and time once more we’ve seen how the an infection dynamics in Europe are mirrored right here just some weeks later.”
In South America, a comparatively giant share of the inhabitants is totally vaccinated — 73 %, in accordance the Our World in Information mission on the College of Oxford. However Dr. Etienne stated that 240 million individuals within the Americas have but to obtain a single vaccine dose, placing them in danger as tourism and journey enhance within the area. “We all know what it takes to guard our individuals,” she stated. “We’ve to maintain filling vaccination gaps.”
Cuba, which has totally vaccinated 88 % of its inhabitants, introduced this week that beginning Wednesday, vacationers would now not be required to current proof of vaccination or a destructive coronavirus check consequence to enter the nation.
Some nations have made modifications to their testing methods that would make it tougher to detect and reply to potential outbreaks, Dr. Etienne stated.
“Nations should proceed to watch the virus to be ready for what comes,” she stated. “Many nations in current weeks have scaled again public well being measures prematurely.”
Dr. Ciro Ugarte, director of well being emergencies at P.A.H.O., stated in the course of the name that since Panama loosened its pandemic restrictions, it had not skilled a spike in circumstances, partly as a result of it has an efficient system for monitoring the virus.
In response to a query about Mexico, the place reported circumstances have decreased 24 % previously two weeks, one other P.A.H.O. official, Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, stated the group didn’t suggest that Mexico ease its restrictions. He stated the authorities ought to stay notably vigilant this month, when many individuals in Latin America are prone to journey round Holy Week and Easter.
W.H.O. officers in different components of the world have warned that enjoyable pandemic guidelines too quickly can result in a surge in circumstances. Final month, whereas the extremely transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2 was sweeping by Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, the group’s director for the area, stated that nations there have been lifting restrictions “brutally, from an excessive amount of to too few.”