All of the countries where we work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. Below, you can find the most up-to-date reports from those countries, and how the new guidelines are affecting Compassion programming. Please continue to check back to this page for further updates.

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Central America & The Caribbean Region: Update

[Update as of September 24, 2020 at 11:20 a.m. EST]

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic still has the highest coronavirus infection rate among Caribbean countries, and the country has recently been battered by tropical storms and hurricanes. News reports indicate that the health care system is strained and hospitals are on the verge of overflow. This increase began shortly after the country began a reopening in July aimed to boost the tourism industry, which many in the country rely on for survival. The national state of emergency has been extended to at least the end of September.

All Compassion child development centres are closed. Staff members are providing physical and emotional support to families, including the delivery of 98,022 food packs and 35,5757 hygiene kits, while complying with guidelines. They are also working with local doctors to facilitate telehealth calls with families and have helped provide medical support to 2,301 individuals. Centres are holding online video classes. Partner churches are providing video sermons, online prayer services and counselling by phone.

El Salvador

Businesses in El Salvador are now operating without restrictions for the first time since March, as the Salvadoran Supreme Court of Justice ruled a government decree regulating the reopening in five stages was unconstitutional. Public and private schools and universities remain closed. The country has announced that they will officially reopen borders for international flights beginning Sept. 19. El Salvador has reported more than 27,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 790 deaths.

Compassion partner churches are supporting vulnerable families with food and available medicine and developing online tutoring materials so children can continue learning from home. To date, Compassion El Salvador has been able to distribute 213,126 food packs and 109,456 hygiene kits and to provide medical support to 22,878 individuals.

They are also providing resources to help families plant home gardens. Compassion El Salvador has shared uplifting messages and public health information for entire communities through local radio. Some centre staff members have been able to arrange small, virtual birthday celebrations for children. Many tutors have formed prayer groups to pray for the children in this season.

Guatemala

Guatemala’s government has reported about 80,000 COVID-19 infections and nearly 3,000 deaths. More than half of the country’s municipalities remain on the highest level of health alert. Schools remain closed throughout the country, and all individuals must wear masks in public spaces. To try and help rejuvenate the economy, Guatemala recently announced plans to reopen its international airport for tourists on Sept 18.

Compassion child development centres have suspended in-person classes and activities. Volunteer tutors reach out to each child every week to pray with them, and report back to the staff any concerns or needs the family has. Frontline church partners have delivered 326,881 food packs and 118,755 hygiene kits to children and their families.

Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for 6,708 individuals. They have also distributed art kits and children’s magazines, as well as sponsor gifts to children.

Haiti

Haiti has reported 8,362 cases of COVID-19 and at least 214 related deaths, although health care workers warn that the numbers could be much higher. Many Haitians have a deep distrust of government and public health authorities and prefer to self-treat at home. Additionally, clinics and hospitals were strained even before the pandemic, as many Haitians need care for chronic health problems, such as malnourishment, diabetes and hypertension. The government imposed a curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. and requires masks to be worn in public. Students across the country returned to classes in August.

Staff and volunteers have returned to Compassion child development centres throughout the country. They have begun to reopen gradually for group activities while following public health recommendations. Partner church workers have been able to deliver 162,427 food packs and 92,192 hygiene kits and have provided medical assistance to 12,756 people.

Honduras

The level of coronavirus testing is extremely low in Honduras, making it difficult to get an accurate view of how the country has been affected. The reported number of positive cases has surpassed 68,000. The public health system has limited capacity for handling severe cases of COVID-19. The government has gradually begun to reopen businesses, and airports have begun operating again, with international tourists now allowed to enter the country if they have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Compassion programs and activities remain suspended in Honduras. Program staff members have delivered 126,9998 food packs and 75,951 hygiene kits and are reinforcing hygiene and safety measures with caregivers. They have also been able to facilitate medical support for 1,823 people since the quarantine began. All who are delivering food have undergone training by the local government on safety measures. Church workers are keeping in touch with families via phone calls and are conducting live video classes for the children.

Mexico

Mexico has registered more than 71,000 COVID-19 related fatalities, the fourth-highest number of deaths behind the U.S., Brazil and India. The pandemic has severely affected the economy, pushing it into the deepest recession it has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The World Health Organization says that Mexico’s low testing rate means the pandemic is “clearly under-recognized” in Mexico.

In-person group activities are on hold at all Compassion child development centres, but about 82% of the centres are having virtual activities. Some tutors have been able to record lessons that they are sending to beneficiaries so they can learn from home. All frontline church partners have received flyers on disease prevention and treatment that they can print and distribute in their communities. Most centres are distributing food to the families of vulnerable children and responding to any emergencies.

Staff members have been able to distribute 190,936 food packs and 110,833 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 5,502 individuals.

Nicaragua

Accurate figures related to the coronavirus in Nicaragua are difficult to come by, and medical professionals indicate that cases and deaths may be underreported. It has been reported that health care workers and teachers have been especially hard hit by the virus. There are also increasing rates of malnutrition throughout the country. Nicaragua is reopening for tourism, however, with most airlines planning to restart flights to Managua in October.

Compassion child development centres temporarily are not holding group meetings or activities, but staff members at many centres have begun developing reopening plans. Since the pandemic began, staff members have distributed 150,501 food packs and 79,530 hygiene kits and provided 2,931 individuals with medical support. Some church partners have been able to provide spiritual content through videos and messaging apps.

Staff members have also been able to arrange for telehealth for children who need medical care. Tutors check in regularly with the children, sending them encouraging messages.

Further Reading:

 

Written by: Compassion Canada