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Covid-19 cases and deaths are plateauing at an alarming high levels in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, said Wednesday.

Last week, the region reported over 1.2 million new Covid-19 cases and 31,000 deaths, figures that remain unchanged over the last few weeks, Etienne said.

“Latin American countries also represented the top five highest mortality rates worldwide” last week, Etienne also warned.

During PAHO’s weekly briefing and assessing the pandemic’s evolution, Etienne highlighted Cuba after it continues to report significant new infections.  

Central American countries such as Costa Rica, Panama and Belize are also seeing spikes as well as Honduras “where ICU beds are over 80% capacity,” Etienne said. 

“We are also concerned about increasing trends and hospitalizations in Haiti,” Etienne told reporters 

In South America, while countries such as Chile, Peru and Paraguay have reported declines in new cases, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil are seeing new cases on the rise. Bolivia has also reported “a drastic increase in cases and deaths,” Etienne explained.

Asked about the presence of the Indian variant across the region, PAHO’s Incident Manager Sylvain Aldighieri said cases have been detected in 10 countries in North, Central and South America and mostly linked with international travelers. 

Regarding the slow vaccination rollout in the Americas, PAHO’s director urged once again the global community to help expand the region’s vaccine coverage.

“In our region of nearly 700 million people, just 37 million have been fully vaccinated against Covid. I hope you agree that this is completely unacceptable,” Etienne stated.