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.
A message from your Sponsored Child’s Country
Watch video updates from this region’s National Directors below.
Central America & The Caribbean Region: Update
[Update as of November 16, 2020]
The Dominican Republic still has the highest COVID-19 infection rate among Caribbean countries, and the country has been battered this year by tropical storms and hurricanes. The country has reported over 128,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 2,252 related deaths as of November 4. Medical care is limited, with some hospitals at or near full capacity. ICU beds are especially limited. A national curfew, which runs on weekdays from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on weekends from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., is in effect. Face masks continue to be required in public.
All Compassion child development centres are closed. Staff members are providing physical and emotional support to families, including the delivery of 113,334 food packs and 47,597 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 3,126 individuals. Centres are holding online video classes. Partner churches are providing video sermons, online prayer services and counselling by phone.
El Salvador has reported more than 34,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 980 related deaths as of November 4. Businesses in El Salvador are operating without restrictions. In-person classes for schools and universities remain suspended through December 31. The country has reopened airports for international flights and is actively promoting tourism in order to help the economy and restore lost jobs. Additionally, El Salvador was hit by the Category 4 Hurricane Eta on November 3. The storm caused widespread evacuations in flood-prone areas throughout the country.
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 245,111 food packs and 125,114 hygiene kits and to provide medical support to 32,898 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 has reported 110,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 3,766 related deaths as of November 6. Theaters, bars, gyms, national parks and some tourist sites have reopened. Limits on attendance and other restrictive measures are in place in areas where COVID-19 continues to spread, including Guatemala City and most other cities. Schools remain closed, and all individuals must wear masks in public spaces. Additionally, Guatemala was hit by the Category 4 Hurricane Eta on November 3. The storm has caused devastating landslides throughout the country, killing more than 150.
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 they report back to the staff any concerns or needs the family has. Frontline church partners have delivered 376,724 food packs and 135,459 hygiene kits to children and their families. Additionally, they have facilitated medical support for 7,265 individuals. They have also distributed art kits and children’s magazines.
Haiti has reported 9,057 cases of COVID-19 and at least 232 related deaths as of November 4, 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. 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 has imposed a curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. and requires masks to be worn in public where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Compassion child development centres throughout the country have resumed normal on-site activities. They are following strict protocols to keep children and youth safe from the coronavirus. 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.
The level of COVID-19 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 surpassed 98,000 and related deaths were more than 2,700 as of November 4. The public health system has limited capacity for handling severe cases. The government has gradually begun to reopen businesses. According to their identity card numbers, individuals are permitted to shop and do essential activities between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. on certain days of the week. Face masks, social distancing and proper sanitation are mandatory. Airports have begun operating again and international tourists are now allowed to enter the country if they have tested negative for the virus. Additionally, Honduras was hit by the Category 4 Hurricane Eta on November 3. The storm has caused deaths and significant damage due to wind and flooding.
Compassion programs and activities remain suspended in Honduras. Program staff members have delivered 157,909 food packs and 95,833 hygiene kits and are reinforcing hygiene and safety measures with caregivers. They have also been able to facilitate medical support for 2,150 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.
The large metropolitan area of Mexico City remains the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak. The number of COVID-19 patients in city hospitals rose to 2,910 on November 5, an increase of 12.6 per cent over the previous month. The states of Chihuahua and Jalisco are under maximum restrictions due to increased cases and deaths there. The pandemic has severely affected the economy, pushing it into the deepest recession it has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Mexico-U.S. border remains closed to nonessential travel through November 21. Curfew restrictions vary based on region.
In-person group activities are on hold at all Compassion child development centres, but about 82 per cent 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 224,354 food packs and 124,897 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 7,117 individuals.
Nicaragua’s ministry of health reported a downward curve of new COVID-19 cases, with official totals on November 4 at 5,514 positive cases and 156 related deaths. However, independent health organizations estimate the number of cases to be much higher, with one civil society group estimating nearly 10,000 suspected cases. Hospitals are reportedly understaffed and struggling to cope with the pandemic. There are also increasing rates of malnutrition throughout the country. Nicaragua has not officially imposed any domestic travel restrictions or national quarantine policies. Additionally, on November 3, Hurricane Eta landed in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm causing flooding and destructive winds.
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 184,328 food packs and 90,212 hygiene kits and provided 3,593 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.
Video Updates from the National Directors of our work in Central America and The Caribbean Region
Quicklinks to Regions:
- Impact on Sponsorship FAQs
- Travel Suspension FAQs
- Impact on Compassion Centres
- Ways to Pray
- Compassion Canada’s COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund