BOGOTA, Colombia 

An estimated 34 million jobs have been lost across Latin America and the Caribbean due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report this week from the International Labor Organization (ILO).   

The report warned that the crisis will exacerbate “the high levels of inequality that existed before the outbreak of the pandemic” in the region.  

The workers most affected by the crisis are young people, women and adults with lower qualifications, it said. 

The number of deaths worldwide from the virus topped 1,020,000 Thursday and infections totaled more than 34 million, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.  

The US, Brazil and India account for nearly 45% of all deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, with Latin America accounting for more than a third of total cases. 

Brazil 

Despite continuing to report thousands of new coronavirus cases daily, Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, began a mass COVID-19 testing program Thursday for public school students and teachers, a move authorities hope will allow educational institutions to restart in-person classes. 

The country registered 728 new coronavirus deaths and 36,157 cases over the last 24 hours, the nation’s health authorities reported. 

The South American country has now registered 144,680 coronavirus deaths and 4,847,092 confirmed infections. 

Peru 

Peru faces a new 48-hour nationwide strike by doctors and health workers to demand greater investment in the health sector as COVID-19 cases soar in the country, which has the highest per capita mortality rate in the world from COVID-19. 

Doctors are seeking better working conditions and higher salaries as more of their colleagues become infected. As of Thursday, 199 had died from the virus and more than 4,000 had been infected. 

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 814,829, with 32,463 deaths, yet the government maintains that daily infections and fatalities have finally started to decline.

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