The eruption of La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent on April 9, 2021. Zen Punnett / AFP / Getty Images

More than 137 cases of Covid-19 have been observed in shelters on the island following the recent St. Vincent volcanic eruptions and subsequent evacuations, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director Carissa Etienne said at the news conference on Wednesday.

“The recent volcanic eruptions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have resulted in evacuations that currently include thousands of people in shelters. So far, more than 137 Covid cases have been reported in shelters and we expect more new infections in the coming weeks, ”she said.

Etienne went on to explain the state of the pandemic in other parts of the Caribbean, saying that Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic continue to be the cause of the most infections. Smaller island states like Bermuda, Aruba and Curacao are reporting spikes in Covid-19-related deaths, she added.

Further expanding throughout the region: “Almost every country in Central America reports an increase in infections,” emphasized Etienne, where cases are increasing in South America.

“In Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay, the cases are accelerating. Argentina has also seen rapid growth in new infections and has taken the third highest number of cases in our region. “

The exception is Chile, where, according to Etienne, after tightening public health measures, there has been a plateau in some cases.

More than 1.5 million new Covid-19 cases and nearly 40,000 Covid deaths were recorded in the Americas last week, Etienne said. In addition to Central and South America, these numbers also include the USA and Canada.

“Over [the] At the weekend the world reached a tragic milestone – more than 3 million people lost their lives to Covid. And almost half of those deaths happened right here on the American continent, ”she added.

Etienne also highlighted inequality in access to vaccines, saying that the Latin America and Caribbean region has “the greatest need for vaccines” and that PAHO advocates that the region be a priority in vaccine distribution.

“We urge all countries that have more vaccines than they need to donate them to countries that need them most. especially the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as America, which have borne the brunt of the epidemic, “she said.