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Pan American Health Organization Warns Not To Relax Restrictions Too Soon, Points Out Haiti in Grave Danger

May 7, 2020 (EIRNS)—In a May 5 briefing to media, Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) advised the nations of the Americas against relaxing social distancing and other restrictions too soon, as this “could accelerate the spread of the virus and open the door for a dramatic upsurge or for spread to adjacent areas.”

Dr. Etienne pointed out that in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Ecuador, the number of cases is doubling every few days. Given this reality, she called on those nations to “implement the full range of public health measures available.”

PAHO is both the specialized health agency of the Inter- American System, and also serves as Americas Regional Office in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Etienne also warned that the region’s poorest nation, Haiti, will soon be hit by “a perfect storm approaching,” in which vast poverty, a crumbling healthcare system, lack of basic sanitation infrastructure, and decent housing have combined to ensure that the population is highly vulnerable to disease. While Haiti officially has only 101 confirmed COVID-19 cases, only 600 of its 11 million people have been tested! Worse, Etienne said, “there’s a real risk that food insecurity will quickly result in famine.” A May 4 AFP wire appropriately titled its coverage “For Haitians, Die of Hunger Today or Coronavirus Tomorrow?” The price of rice, a basic staple in the Haitian diet, has doubled since 2019, and inflation has soared since March. UN sources warn that 40% of Haitians will need emergency humanitarian assistance in 2020, and an estimated 3 million will face “severe food insecurity.”

Medical equipment, PPEs, masks, acute hospital beds and ICU units, etc. are in short supply. The May 5 Miami Herald reported also that Haitians who are convinced the coronavirus is a hoax have prevented the setting up COVID hospital facilities, and threatened to burn them down and attack healthcare workers.

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