By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – The coronavirus pandemic will have devastating effects on Latin America’s economy, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Tuesday.
ECLAC said in a report that the pandemic will hit the region's economy hard this year with a predicted contraction of 9.1%, the worst on record. It said some 2.7 million businesses are forecast to close in 2020, unemployment will rise to 13.5% and poverty will reach 37.7% of the population, all of which will translate to a 10-year setback and sharp increase in inequality and poverty in the most unequal region on the planet.
The largest drop in per capita income will be in South America (9.4%), followed by Central America and Mexico (8.4%).
Of the 10 countries in the world with the highest COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 people, six are in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Brazil recorded 819 coronavirus deaths and 41,906 cases of the disease Tuesday, the highest number in a single day since Sept. 11.
The country has recorded 4,969,141 cases and 147,494 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
Mexico has also reported a record number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the last few days. But that is because there is an accumulation of cases and deaths that are only now being classified as the coronavirus as part of a new reporting methodology, according to Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell.
"What we have is a reclassification that allows us to have more robust statistics," he said during a press conference Tuesday morning.
Mexico has 789,780 cases and 82,348 coronavirus related deaths.
In Colombia, a coronavirus resurgence is expected in November and December, but preparations seem to be underway. The government is preparing a draft decree to ban essential exports so the country can shield itself against the risk of shortages if there is an increase in demand for such products to satisfy domestic needs.
The South American country has a total of 869,808 cases and 27,017 deaths.
Peru's main airport reopened for international flights after closing six months ago due to the pandemic.
Jorge Chavez International Airport will be receiving flights to and from 11 destinations including Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.
Peruvian health authorities have reported a decrease in cases. The country has 830,000 infections and 32,834 fatalities.