Washington, D.C., April 14 2020 (PAHO) — The Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, has convened two high-level meetings of Ministers of Health of the Americas to brief them on the current status of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and to discuss some of the latest developments in the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, and social distancing measures.
The virtual meeting for ministers from Spanish-speaking countries will take place on Tuesday April 14, at 1.00 pm [WDC time], while English-speaking countries will be briefed on Wednesday April 15, at 2 pm [WDC time].
The PAHO Director and other experts will discuss the current status of the pandemic response in the countries of the Americas, and provide an overview on rapid tests and other diagnostics, suggested therapeutics including chloroquine, and an update of current social distancing measures along with the evidence required to relax these measures.
In addition to Dr. Etienne, Dr. Ciro Ugarte, Director of Health Emergencies, and Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO Assistant Director, will participate in the briefings and discussions.
Other topics on the agenda include an overview of current recommendations on the use of masks by the general population, as well as an overview of specific public health approaches for populations living in vulnerable conditions.
PAHO has invited experts from Spain to brief ministers on that country’s experiences and the lessons they have learned in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the first case in the Americas was confirmed in the United States on 20 January 2020 and the first case in Latin America and the Caribbean was reported by Brazil on 26 February 2020, COVID-19 has spread to 54 countries and territories in the Americas. PAHO’s extensive response to the pandemic has centered on supporting countries with technical guidelines, training, supplies, and information. The Organization has supported 35 countries and 1 territory in obtaining shipments of PPEs and has provided COVID test kits to 25 countries, among other actions.