Health & Education

COVID-19: Latin America

March 17 Coronavirus Update

The arrival of Coronavirus COVID-19 has been relatively slow in Latin America, but the last three days have seen growing urgency in Public Sector responses.

The arrival of Coronavirus COVID-19 has been relatively slow in Latin America, but the last three days have seen growing urgency in Public Sector responses.

Although the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 has been slower in Latin America compared to other regions of the world, it was only a matter of time before the virus arrived and started spreading through local transmission (as opposed to travel-related transmission).

Many people speculate that the inverted seasonal cycles of the Southern hemisphere could explain the delayed incubation of the virus in these countries, but there has been no confirmation of this hypothesis while scientists continue to study the new virus strain.

Here is a snapshot of the spread of COVID-19 in TBY´s Latin American markets. These observations are as of March 17, 2020.


Confirmed cases: 54

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: On March 15, the government announces the closing of all public and private schools until April 20, and all public gatherings of over 500 people.

Travel bans: On March 15, President Duque announced the closure of all borders to foreign citizens, including land, air, and maritime travel. The country has mobilized substantial medical and military enforcement to the Colombian-Venezuelan border, particularly in North Santander, to stem the illegal migration flow into the country.

Costa Rica:

Confirmed cases: 41

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: On March 15, the Costa Rican government ordered the forced closure of all bars and clubs. This came after many establishments had violated a previous decree of limiting guest activity to 50% of their defined capacity. Restaurants are still allowed to operate under the 50% limit. The government has been selectively closed 350 “at risk” schools and has suspended all university classes.

Travel bans: The government has announced that in the last two weeks over 8,000 hotel reservations have been canceled. A state of emergency has been declared as of March 16.

Dominican Republic:

Confirmed cases: 21

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: Schools will be closed March 16 and 17 for health teams to conduct sanitation cycles.

Travel bans: As of March 15, the government has only placed travel bans from Italy and Spain for 30 days.


Confirmed cases: 37

Confirmed deaths: 2

Social bans: President Lenin Moreno declared a national emergency on March 11, and with it the suspension of all classes starting on March 12 as well as the restriction of all activities with more than 30 people.

Travel bans: On March 14, the government announced a full travel ban to all foreign citizens via land, air, and maritime transportation starting on March 15, as well as the prohibition of entry of Ecuadorian citizens and residents starting on March 16 with the country under state of emergency.


Confirmed cases: 15, with Health Ministry tracking hundreds more.

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: All tourism-related activities have been canceled, businesses have been ordered to close or mandate work-from-home instructions, and all schools have been canceled.

Travel bans: Travel bans have been introduced for many European countries, with many sources expecting stricter bans in the next few days.


Confirmed cases: 53

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: All classes have been banned from March 20th to April 20th. As of March 23rd, the country will enter a “safe-distance period” where all non-essential travel will be enforced, work-from-home instructions will be encouraged, and all large events will be limited.

Travel bans: No travel bans have been enforced, but quarantined activities have started in flights from Europe and several Asian countries. The government is considering a closure of the US-Mexico border to prevent US-sourced carriers from entering Mexico.


Confirmed cases: 69

Confirmed deaths: 1, a Panamanian woman who had traveled to Spain.

Social bans: The government has ordered all communal gathering areas closed and all sporting events cancelled. Schools have been closed in central and north Panama, and it is expected that this measure will be extended to the rest of the country.

Travel bans: On March 13, the country cancelled all flights from Europe, and on March 15 the travel ban was extended to all

non-Panamanian residents and citizens.Peru:

Confirmed cases: 86

Confirmed deaths: 0

Social bans: The government is enforcing work-from-home mandates, the cancellation of all public gatherings, and is ordering all citizens to self-quarantine for the next 15 days. Military and police forces have been mobilized to limit public gatherings and non-essential activity. The school year, which was slated to begin on March 16, has been pushed back to March 30.

Travel bans: On March 15th, President Martin Vizcarra announced the closing of all borders for 15 days and suspended all flights from Europe and Asia starting on March 16.

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