BOGOTA, Colombia 

Brazil has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean with 125,218, followed by Peru with 54,817, Ecuador with 31,881, Mexico with 26,025, Chile with 23,048, Colombia with 8,613 and the Dominican Republic with 8,807.   

All figures are compiled according to data from US-based Johns Hopkins University as of Wednesday. 

Brazil 

Brazil is the second most infected country in the Americas, although according to estimates by Brazilian scientists, underreporting means the true numbers are almost certainly much higher, even higher than those of the United States.

So far, 8,536 deaths have been recorded and 125,218 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the country, with São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro provinces being the worst hit.

Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, announced Wednesday the blockade of some areas of the city starting Thursday because people are not complying with confinement measures.

“We have a problem with the [commercial] sidewalks in Campo Grande, Santa Cruz and Bangu. The municipal guard closes the establishments, leaves, and half an hour later, they open everything. Now we are going to put the guard there, and if they don’t obey, we will close those places completely,” he said.

Paraguay 

Eight of the nine coronavirus cases reported Wednesday in Paraguay are from citizens repatriated from Brazil, said Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni on Twitter. Most of the people who have tested positive in the last few days come from neighboring Brazil. 

So far, Paraguay has recorded 440 cases and 10 deaths. 

Chile

Chile’s health authorities have strengthened confinement measures in the capital Santiago in response to an increase in coronavirus cases, amounting to 23,048 as of Wednesday.  

Two months after the first case was reported in Chile and while many countries in the region are relaxing social distancing measures, 12 neighborhoods in Santiago will impose a mandatory quarantine starting Friday night, a decision that was made after the country began reporting over a thousand more coronavirus cases every day.  

“It is imperative that the number of cases in Santiago decrease rapidly, and the only way to do this is through the measures we have outlined, however painful they may be,” said Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, who has called this fight to stop the spread of the virus in the capital “the battle of Santiago.”  

El Salvador 

The governments of El Salvador and Costa Rica became embroiled in a controversy Wednesday after Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele questioned the low numbers of coronavirus cases detected in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada defended the country’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

The dispute between the two Central American countries began Tuesday night when Bukele said on radio and television that El Salvador did not want to “make the same mistake as Costa Rica and other countries.” 

“Costa Rica gives us the false impression that they have flattened the curve, but they have only lowered the number of daily tests, having the capacity to do more,” said Bukele. 

Costa Rica has sharply reduced the number of infections in the last month, with less than 10 per day, after being the first Central American country to report COVID-19 cases.

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