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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Watch video updates from this region’s National Directors and other Compassion staff below.

Central America & The Caribbean Region: Update

[Update as of July 27, 2021]

Dominican Republic

Cases in the Dominican Republic have continued to fall from the 1,000 cases reported last month to an average of 556 per day as of July 18. So far, the country has fully inoculated 43.6 per cent of its population of 10.5 million people, up from 24 per cent in June. A curfew remains in place with differing hours on weekdays and weekends. The Dominican Republic is not requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, and the government is encouraging tourism in an effort to revive the economy.

Compassion centres in the Dominican Republic are all either doing distance only or meeting in small groups. As they work from home, staff members are providing spiritual and emotional support to families through home visits, phone calls, video calls and other virtual methods. They have also delivered more than 234,500 food packs and over 125,000 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 nearly 17,000 individuals. Mentors and tutors are keeping in touch with children and youths through online meetings and social media.

El Salvador

As of July 15, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases has risen to 241 in El Salvador, compared to 41 per day in June. El Salvador has given out over 3 million vaccine doses, enough for nearly 28 per cent of its 6.5 million people up from 17 per cent last month. El Salvador continues to utilize funding from the World Bank in its fight against the pandemic. The pandemic, natural disasters and gang violence have all contributed to a huge increase in hunger in El Salvador, especially in rural areas.

Compassion partner churches are supporting vulnerable families with food and available medicine and developing online tutoring materials so children can continue learning from home. Centre workers are visiting families and following up in situations where child protection is needed. They also have been able to distribute nearly 482,000 food packs and over 252,000 hygiene kits and provide medical support to over 80,000 individuals. Compassion El Salvador has shared uplifting messages and public health information for entire communities through local radio stations.

Guatemala

The reported average of COVID-19 cases in Guatemala has increased again, to over 2,000 per day as of July 19. This is slightly lower than a week ago, however, when the most cases per day in Guatemala so far were reported. At this time, Guatemala has vaccinated under 4 per cent of its population, up from 2 per cent last month. Guatemala is set to receive around 3 million doses of the vaccine from the United States in an effort to increase the speed of their vaccine rollout. Humanitarian organizations continue their work rebuilding Guatemala after hurricanes Eta and Iota. Clean water remains dangerously hard to find for the poorest communities. To help alleviate the destruction and scarcity, several countries, including the U.S., are sending funding to be used as humanitarian aid and to battle food insecurity.

Compassion child development centres have suspended in-person classes and activities. Staff and volunteers are making home visits to stay in touch with beneficiaries and follow up on their needs. They also provide monthly magazines with program content so children can continue to learn about God and ways they can take care of themselves. Some classes and activities are held virtually. Frontline church partners have delivered nearly 565,000 food packs and 243,000 hygiene kits to children and their families. Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for nearly 25,000 individuals.

Haiti

Reports from Haiti continue to show that COVID is on the rise in the country. Officially, Haiti is reporting an average of 49 cases per day. This number could be much higher, however, because of low testing rates and widespread dismissal of the virus in Haiti. Haiti vaccinated the first 38 people in the country on July 17, kicking off its vaccination program using the 500,000 doses it received from the United States. The violence in Haiti continues to escalate, especially with the recent assassination of the president, with some hospitals considering shutting down because the danger is too great. Kidnappings are rampant, with gangs becoming increasingly bold as the local police lack resources to respond. Masks are required by the government, but large, unmasked events continue to be held.

Currently, Compassion child development centres throughout the country have resumed normal on-site activities, but some centres may be affected by the unrest in the country. They are following strict protocols to keep children and youths safe from the coronavirus. Many centres are working closely with students who are preparing for final evaluations and offering tutoring to those struggling from a difficult, disrupted school year. Partner church workers have been able to deliver nearly 163,000 food packs and 92,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical assistance to nearly 12,800 people.

Honduras

Honduras is reporting an average of 946 COVID-19 cases per day as of July 18. This is slightly lower than the number of cases reported July 7, which was the highest recorded so far in the country. So far, Honduras has fully vaccinated over 7 per cent of its 9.2 million people. On July 20, the United States announced it was sending 1.5 million vaccine doses to Honduras. Honduras continues to rebuild following the 2020 hurricane season and the pandemic, with millions still facing hunger and poverty. The United States has been joined by other countries in providing aid to Honduras, which the government has stated they will use in their hurricane relief efforts.

Most Compassion child development centres are closed, but a handful have been able to begin meeting in small groups. Frontline church workers are keeping in touch with families via phone calls and are conducting video classes for the children where possible. In a few communities they can also conduct home visits. Staff have delivered over 354,000 food packs and just under 252,000 hygiene kits and have also been able to facilitate medical support for almost 8,000 people.

Mexico

In Mexico, as of July 18, an average of 10,124 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported every day—five times more than the 2,000 recorded in early June. The number is still rising. Mexico has fully inoculated over 21 per cent of its population of 130.2 million people, up from 14 per cent in June. Mexico plans to vaccinate more people in communities close to the United States border to help reopen border crossings. Lockdowns in Mexico are different from state to state, since the strictness of each one changes based on how many cases are being reported there. The COVID-related death toll remains high at over 200,000 deaths.

The majority of Compassion child development centres are making calls and home visits to check on children and their families; a few have begun meeting in small groups. All frontline church partners have received flyers on disease prevention and treatment that they can print and distribute in their communities. Staff members have been able to distribute nearly 441,000 food packs and almost 219,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to nearly 55,000 individuals.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 per day as of July 19. Since the pandemic began, there have officially been 7,044 infections reported and 193 related deaths. Cases may be much higher than reported, especially because any news not reported by the government was made illegal last year. Many in the country’s medical community also cast doubt on the numbers, with some saying deaths may be more than five times higher than reported. Nicaragua has fully vaccinated 3.2 per cent of its population beginning with citizens over the age of 60. The World Bank states that Nicaragua remains one of the least developed countries in Central America. The pandemic has only worsened this status, with 90,000 more people being pushed below the poverty line in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Many Nicaraguan child development centres have resumed normal program activities. Around 30 per cent are able to meet in small groups. Staff members from a few centres are limited to home visits and virtual programing for children and families. Since the pandemic began, staff members have distributed over 254,000 food packs and almost 116,000 hygiene kits and provided over 14,000 individuals with medical support.

Video updates from National Directors and Compassion Staff in Central America and The Caribbean Region

Further Reading:

 

Written by: Compassion Canada