Latin America and the Caribbean remain some of the regions most affected by COVID-19. Despite this, since December 2020, Uruguay has been one of the countries in Latin America with the lowest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19. This is because they have implemented a multi-pronged testing center strategy, tests to people regardless of symptoms, surveillance systems, and aggressive contact tracing for those confirmed to have COVID-19.
On the other hand, vaccines seem to be the answer to having a certain control over the virus and perhaps going back to normality. As an initiative to help ensure fair distribution of vaccines to the poorest, the World Bank has approved a US$12 billion financial commitment to support the financing of and access to COVID-19 vaccines. Although there are institutions that want to make this distribution transparent, it is very unlikely vaccines will reach most of the population in 2021. Governments will have to strengthen public health systems to lower number risk of infection.
On top of this, the fast-spreading version of the coronavirus is now present in the U.S and has been around in India and the U.K. Public-health officials are concerned about this Delta variant of the virus, also known as the global “variant of concern”. Delta has become the dominant variant in the U.K and has displayed a significant factor in the surge of infections that surpassed India’s healthcare system.
In an attempt to help governments get ahead of the curve the World Bank developed a guide to understanding which, where, and how certain populations are being affected by the virus. More countries have to implement proactive strategies and measures to control the severity of infections around different communities. A good practice is to do regular testings on all populations regardless of symptoms.
Other essential elements to consider as a means to proactive testing strategies include data availability, availability of health human resources, good governance, implementation of laboratories infrastructure, reliability of supply chains, and continuous evaluation and learning. Now more than ever, countries must work together to rebuild trust in societies and enable education as well as the economy to operate safely again.