BOGOTA, Colombia 

Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 300,000 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, which has caused the death of 16,332 people in the region.  

Latin America had 309,522 infections as of Thursday, with Brazil being the worst affected country with 127,655 cases and 8,609 deaths. 

The second highest number of cases is registered in Peru, where records show there are 58,526 infections and 1,627 deaths. 

In Mexico, where the virus has infected 27,634 people, it has proved more lethal with 2,704 deaths. 

In Ecuador, 1,654 people have died, among 30,298 who have been infected, according to official records.  

Amazon 

The Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA) launched a global appeal to raise money to buy food, medicine and basic protective equipment such as masks. 

In the absence of government assistance, COICA called for the help of the international community. 

“The Amazon has 30% of the planet’s biodiversity and 70% of its oxygen, but its real
Power lies in the interrelationship that native peoples have with the forest to ensure
everyone’s life,” said Tabea Casique Coronado, COICA’s education coordinator and leader of the Asheninka people in Peru. 

Indigenous groups in the Amazon called for donations to help protect 3 million inhabitants who are vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus. 

COICA warned that if the nine countries in the Amazon do not take urgent action, the world will witness an ethnocide.   

Bolivia 

Coronavirus has been a major obstacle for elections in Bolivia. After right-wing Jeanine Anez took power last fall when leftist president Evo Morales was forced to resign amid violent protests set off by a disputed election, Anez was staying in power for a few weeks to organize a new, fair election and then stand aside. 

After launching her candidacy, elections were cancelled over COVID-19 public health concerns. Bolivia’s parliament passed a law calling for elections in 90 days, but interim President Anez said it is too soon and accused the opposition of putting the lives of Bolivians at risk. The confrontation has polarized the country, which so far has 1,886 reported coronavirus cases and 91 deaths.   

Chile 

Scientists in Chile have developed a test that could help diagnose asymptomatic coronavirus patients by testing if they have lost sense of smell.  

Experts say the loss of the sense of smell or taste are signs of a coronavirus infection.  

Chile’s coronavirus death toll reached 285, and a total of 24,581 cases. 

El Salvador 

Breaking the quarantine in El Salvador can be hell for many. The government installed 91 “containment centers,” gyms, hotels and other places that have been converted into containment areas, where offenders are left adrift. 

There, those who violate the mandatory quarantine are left for days waiting for their test results. Local media has reported overcrowding and human rights abuse. 

There are currently 3,964 people in these centers, which have aroused strong criticism inside and outside the country. 

As of Thursday, El Salvador registered 694 cases of COVID-19, including 15 deaths.

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