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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Updates: South America
[Update as of September 24, 2020 at 11:23 a.m. EST]
COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in Bolivia, more than tripling since the country began reopening economic activities in early June. As of Sept. 17, the country has reported 129,000 cases and 7,478 deaths. Bolivia canceled school for the rest of the year due to the pandemic, so some 2 million students won’t attend either online or in-person classes until at least 2021. Additionally, the country is plagued by political unrest and protests after presidential elections were postponed for the second time.
Group activities at all Compassion child development centres remain on hold. Partner churches are working to provide food, disease prevention materials and hygiene supplies to beneficiaries and their families. Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed 427,053 food packs and 197,303 hygiene kits and provided 1,119 individuals with medical support. They are also checking in with families via phone to provide spiritual and emotional support and arrange for telehealth calls.
Compassion Bolivia has deployed teams of physicians and psychologists to support frontline church partners and has conducted trainings to help churches safely resume activities.
Brazil’s economy has officially entered a recession following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 135,000 Brazilians and pushed millions into unemployment. New infections are finally beginning to slow, and the country reports that more than 3 million have recovered from the disease.
While Compassion activities are on hold, local partners are making every effort to provide for the basic needs of beneficiaries, including the delivery of 232,489 food baskets and 179,422 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have provided medical support to 8,948 people.
Partner churches are maintaining phone contact with families and providing Bible stories, video lessons and prayers, as well as care for those struggling mentally and emotionally. Some churches have been able to hold small youth group gatherings and worship services with fewer than 30 people attending.
A Colombian government official announced on Sept. 8 that the country has passed its peak of infection, as the daily increase in new cases is declining. Colombia recently lifted its national health emergency, allowing all sectors of the economy to return to work. In Bogota, where the majority of cases have been reported, restrictions remain in place to control overcrowding in stores. The country plans to reopen its border to international flights on Sept. 21.
All Compassion centre activities are on hold. Partner churches continue to monitor home situations for child protection, and monitor families that are quarantined or have tested positive for COVID-19. Since April they have distributed 345,969 food packs and 183,376 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 6,257 individuals. In areas where they cannot deliver food, they have provided families with vouchers to be used in local markets.
Staff members have created activity kits for children to do at home, and some centres have held virtual birthday celebrations. Additionally, staff and church partners have created online curriculum lessons and devotionals for registered children and their families, and they are making daily calls to check in them.
Ecuador has confirmed nearly 122,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 11,000 related deaths, with the majority of cases in Quito. Additionally, Indigenous groups in Ecuador have been hit hard by the virus; many who live in remote areas have little access to testing or hospitals. Curfews are still in place, and masks and social distancing are encouraged. Testing remains extremely limited, however, and death tolls indicate that the number of positive cases is higher than reported.
All Compassion frontline church partners and Compassion centres are closed to group activities. Church staff members continue to provide emotional and spiritual support by making regular phone calls to families. The Compassion Ecuador national office has also been able to help provide some pastors with counselling and emotional care. Center workers have been able to deliver 301,388 food packs and 60,114 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 13,117 individuals since the pandemic began, including helping families access telehealth services. Some partner churches have been able to hold online worship services, prayer meetings and training in child protection.
Peru has reported more than 31,000 coronavirus-related deaths and has the highest mortality rate per capita of any major country in the world. The national emergency has been extended to Sept. 30. Peru’s economy is in recession due to the lockdown measures.
All Compassion frontline church partners have put children’s and youths’ activities on hold. The national staff and church partners are monitoring children and families who are vulnerable due to extreme poverty, possible abuse or health complications. Centres remain focused on caring for children in four main areas: physically, through telehealth and disease prevention training; emotionally, through remote counselling; socially, through regular check-ins and visits when appropriate; and spiritually, through counselling, devotionals and prayer.
Church workers are working closely with local authorities to deliver supplies to families and have been able to distribute 380,440 food packs and 177,601 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have helped 13,748 individuals access medical support during the pandemic.
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