WHO says Americas are new virus epicentre

The Americas have emerged as the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a briefing, as a US study forecast deaths surging in Brazil and other Latin American countries through August, SIA reports.

"Now is not the time for countries to ease restrictions," Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the Americas and head of the Pan American Health Organization, said via videoconference.

The Americas have registered more than 2.4 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 143,000 deaths from the resulting Covid-19 respiratory disease. Latin America has passed Europe and the United States in daily infections, she said.

"Our region has become the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic," Etienne said, as other PAHO directors warned there are "very tough" weeks ahead for the region and Brazil has a long way to go before it will see the pandemic end.

Also of concern to WHO officials are accelerating outbreaks in Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

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