COVID-19 pandemic in South America

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached South America on 26 February when Brazil confirmed a case in São Paulo.[2] By 3 April, all countries and territories in South America had recorded at least one case.[3]

COVID-19 pandemic in South America
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationSouth America
First outbreakWuhan, China
Index caseSão Paulo, Brazil
Arrival date26 February 2020
(3 months ago)
Confirmed cases654,828[1]

On April 17, the highest number of cases and deaths was registered in Brazil,[4] followed by Peru and Chile in the number of confirmed cases.[5]

On May 13, it was reported that Latin America and the Caribbean had reported over 400,000 cases of infection with 23,091 deaths. On May 22, citing especially the rapid increase of infections in Brazil, the WHO declared that South America is presently the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.[6]

Pandemic by country and territoryEdit

South America is composed of 12 sovereign states and 2 non-sovereign territories, with their total population included in the table below.

Summary table of confirmed cases in South America (as of 25 May 2020)[7]
# Countries and territories Confirmed Deaths Recovered[a] Population
(in millions)
1   Brazil 374,898 23,473 153,833 211.5 [8][9]
2   Peru 123,979 3,629 50,949 32.1 [10][11]
3   Chile 73,997 761 29,302 19.1 [12]
4   Ecuador 37,355 3,203 18,003 17.5 [13][14]
5   Colombia 21,981 750 5,265 49.4 [15]
6   Argentina 12,615 467 3,986 44.9 [16]
7   Bolivia 6,660 261 647 11.5 [7][17]
8   Venezuela 1,177 10 302 32.2 [7]
9   Paraguay 865 11 344 7.2 [18]
10   Uruguay 787 22 629 3.5 [7][19]
11   French Guiana 353 1 146 0.3 [7]
12   Guyana 137 11 62 0.8 [7]
13   Falkland Islands 13 0 13 0.003 [7][20]
14   Suriname 11 1 9 0.6 [21]
Total 654,828 32,600 263,490 430 [7]


The COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). On 3 March 2020, the virus was confirmed to have spread to Argentina.[22] As of 26 May 2020, a total of 12,615 people have been infected.[23][24][25]

On 7 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed the country's first death, a 64-year-old man who had travelled to Paris, France, who also had other health conditions;[26] the case was only confirmed as positive after the patient's demise.[26] This also marked the first documented death from the virus in the country.[26]

On 19 March, Argentina entered a nation-wide lockdown.[27][28] The Argentine government announced the extension of the lockdown, originally intended to end on March 31, then mid April,[29] and later until 26 April.[30] On 25 April, President Alberto Fernández announced that the lockdown would be extended in major cities until 10 May.[31] The lockdown was lifted up throughout all the country since 10 May, excepting the Greater Buenos Aires, as the lockdown is expected to continue in that urban area at least until 24 May.[32] On 23 May, the lockdown was extended in this area until 7 June after a big jump in the number of new cases in the previous days.[33]

Responses to the outbreak have included restrictions on commerce and movement, closure of borders, and the closure of schools and educational institutions.[34] Clusters of infections and deaths have occurred in nursing homes, prisons and other detention centers, and urban areas.[35][36] The number testings increased over time, although there were some concerns as the number of testings is lower compared to other countries from the region like Chile and Peru.[37]


The COVID-19 pandemic in Bolivia is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have spread to Bolivia when its first two cases were confirmed on 10 March 2020 in the departments of Oruro and Santa Cruz[38][39]

On 12 March, Bolivia suspended all public school sessions until 31 March, as well as all commercial flights to and from Europe indefinitely. They also prohibited large-scale public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.[40]


Map of states with confirmed coronavirus cases (as of 18 May)

The COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020,[41] when a man from São Paulo tested positive for the virus. As of 25 May 2020, 374,898 cases have been confirmed in the country, causing 23,473 deaths.[42] As of late May 2020, Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, being surpassed only by the United States.[43][44][45]

The pandemic has triggered a variety of responses from federal, state and local governments, having an impact on politics, education, the environment,[46] and the economy. On 27 March Brazil announced a temporary ban on foreign air travelers[47] and most state governors have imposed quarantines to prevent the spread of the virus.[48]


The COVID-19 pandemic in Chile is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Chile in March 2020.[49] As of March 2020 there is a considerable COVID-19 outbreak in Chile. While initial cases had been imported from South East Asia and Europe, they expanded into a sizeable quantity of untraceable infections, placing the country within phase 4 of the pandemic as defined by the WHO, and surpassing a thousand confirmed cases on 25 March 2020.

The cases have concentrated in the Greater Santiago, with outbreaks in other areas like Araucanía, Chillán and Punta Arenas. No national lockdown has been established in Chile, as in neighbouring Argentina and Peru, but only in some communes and urban areas. On 16 May 2020, the whole city of Santiago was put under mandatory quarantine due to an increase of cases.

Currently, Chile has the third largest number of cases in South America and in Latin America, after Brazil and Peru. However, the number of fatalities has been lower than other countries in the region with fewer cases declared.


The COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Colombia on 6 March 2020.[50][51] As of 17 March, Colombia is denying entry to those who are not Colombian citizens, permanent residents or diplomats.[52]


Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ecuador

On 29 February, the Minister of Health in Ecuador, Catalina Andramuño, confirmed the first case of the virus in the country.[53] The patient, a woman in her 70s, Ecuadorian citizen who resides in Spain, had arrived to Guayaquil on 14 February.[53]

On 1 March, Andramuño announced that five new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Ecuador.[54]

As of 31 March, there have been 2240 confirmed cases, plus 75 deaths linked to COVID-19. The Health Ministry also reported 61 deaths probably related to Covid-19.[55]

Ecuador was described in April as emerging as the "epicentre" of the pandemic in Latin America.[3] The Guayas Province was particularly strongly affect, with thousand of excess deaths reported compared to the figure for a normal period.[5] It was reported on 17 April that 10,939 people had died in six weeks since the start of March in the Guayas Province, compared to a normal figure of 3,000 for the province.[56]

Falkland IslandsEdit

On 3 April 2020, the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands confirmed its first case on on 3 April 2020.[57] Furthermore, as a precaution, the islands' government has closed all schools and nurseries until 4 May.[58] As of 30 April, all 13 cases have recovered.[59]

French GuianaEdit

On 4 March 2020, the first 5 cases were found the French overseas department and region of French Guiana,[60] and the first death was announced on 20 April 2020.[61]


On 11 March 2020, the first case of coronavirus was recorded in Guyana from a 52-year-old woman suffering from underlying health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension.[62] The woman died at the Georgetown Public Hospital.[63]


On 7 March the first confirmed case in Paraguay was announced, a 32-year-old Paraguayan who arrived from Ecuador.[64]

On 10 March, Paraguay suspended public school sessions and large-scale public events for 15 days due to the coronavirus.[65]

On 13 March, Paraguay suspended flights coming from Europe.[66]


On 6 March the first confirmed case in Peru was announced.[67]


On 13 March 2020, Vice President Ashwin Adhin announced the first confirmed case in the country.[68]

On 3 April 2020, the first death was announced.[69]

On 3 May 2020, all remaining COVID-19 cases recovered.[70]

On 18 May 2020, an eleventh case was identified.[71]


On 13 March 2020, the Public Health Ministry announced the first four confirmed cases in the country. The number was updated to 29 on 3/16, to 50 on 3/17 and to 79 on 3/18.[72] In March, half of Uruguay's cases were traced to a single fashion designer.[73]


On 13 March 2020, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced the first two confirmed cases in the country.[74]

On 14 March, Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez informed that eight new cases were detected in the country.[75]

On 26 March, the first death was reported.[76]

Prevention in other countries and territoriesEdit

South Georgia & the South Sandwich IslandsEdit

This remote territory is uninhabited, save for small communities of scientists; the territory is also occasionally visited by small groups of tourists.[77] On 17 March tourist facilities in Grytviken were closed as a precaution,[78] with various other measures being implemented to protect workers on the islands.[79] South Georgia is open for visitors with a permit and is still virus free as of 22 April.[80]


  1. ^ Reported recoveries. May not correspond to actual current figures and not all recoveries may be reported. Total recoveries may not necessarily add up due to the frequency of values updating for each location.


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External linksEdit