BOGOTA, Colombia

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the coronavirus epidemic can still be controlled, although the number of cases has doubled in the past six weeks.   

“There are many examples around the world that have shown that although the epidemic is intense, it can still be controlled,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the media, referring to Spain, Italy, and South Korea. 

Latin American nations are still grappling with rising infections, leading some countries to impose strict lockdown measures again. 

But despite an increasing number of cases, some leaders are not reversing their plans to open up the economy.   

Colombia 

Colombia recorded on Friday the highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in a day, with 6,803 new cases and 211 deaths, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health. 

On Friday, the Mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota announced the city will return to a strict neighborhood quarantine. Claudia Lopez said a curfew will be enforced during the day in restricted neighborhoods. 

Colombia has reported 134,000 infections with 5,000 deaths as of Friday.  

Argentina 

Argentina was selected to test a vaccine against COVID-19, by the multinational BioNTech-Pfizer, President Alberto Fernandez announced. 

“Argentina is the only country in the region where one of the test phases for a possible vaccine against COVID-19 will take place,” he wrote on his Twitter account on Friday. 

The German company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer will test the new coronavirus vaccine in 45 participants. 

Argentina has recorded a total number of 90,693 infections with 1,774 deaths. These figures are still well below the cases reported in neighbors Brazil, Chile, and Peru.  

Brazil 

Mayors and governors across Brazil are relaxing isolation guidelines even as infections continue to spike. The country has reported 1.8 million infections with 70,000 deaths. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asked governors and mayors to reopen trade and normalize activities to avoid an economic catastrophe. 

“I hope that mayors and governors, responsible as they are, begin to open trade as quickly as possible because, otherwise, the problems will get worse and much worse in Brazil,” said the Brazilian leader in his live broadcast on social media on Thursday.

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