Central America Presidents Ally Against COVID-19

The Heads of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández; of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado; of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei; of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; of Panamá, Laurentino Cortizo; of República Dominicana, Danilo Medina; as well as Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Hugo Patt, agreed to promote joint measures against the Corona Virus.

Centroamérica, March 12th, 2020. The Heads of State and Government of the member countries of Central American Integration System (SICA), who participated virtual meeting today, analyzed the situation of the region in the face of COVID-19 and the need for joint actions to have Central America allied against the Corona Virus.

In the spirit of Digital SICA, which establishes the use of digital platforms to optimize work, the virtual meeting was held under the Pro Tempore Presidency of Honduras, with the coordination of the General Secretariat of SICA, in which the Heads of States had an open dialogue and shared the measures to be executed in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The participants who were accompanied by the their Health officials and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, appreciated the reactivation of the political dialogue under SICA and proposed joint and coordinated actions to control the threat of the virus not only in terms of sanitation and health, but also of economic impact which is already striking various parts of the region

Some of the measures are already contained in the declaration adopted at the virtual meeting, but will be developed further in the "Regional Contingency Plan aimed at complementing national efforts for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 and other rapidly spreading diseases" .

As for example the joint negotiation in the purchase of medicines and medical devices; the increase in CABEI''s emergency fund; the monitoring of the real impact on the economies of the countries, among others that will allow the region a comprehensive approach to the pandemic.

Learn more about the mechanism of the joint negotiation of rates and purchase of medicines

The President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, in his SICA''s Pro Tempore Presidency, assured about regional measures that “We must learn from what has happened to each other. The Ministers of Health must keep in constant communication, and we all must do it”.

The President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, expressed the need to establish regional sanitary cordons. "That our Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Health work in the establishment of regional sanitary cordons and the measures of air, sea, and land transportation that come to Central America can be regulated in the same way by all governments in identical manner," he said.

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Meanwhile, the President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, in the face of the pandemic, assured: “All countries have gone through great hurricanes, storms, and in the end they have passed, and we have recovered. The same will happen with this pandemic. We are going to recover and we are going to be much more united. ” Panama offers Humanitarian Hub at the service of Central America to deal with this crisis.

For his part, the Head of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, appreciated the importance of political dialogue. "I congratulate Ex-President Vinicio Cerezo because I am aware of his effort to achieve this meeting. It is important that we reactivate the political dialogue, facing this situation, to address the health and economic issue that are related to each other. Together we can".

At the meeting, they urged to look for measures to guarantee the supply of medicines, medical devices and other implements for the prevention, containment and treatment of the virus; as well as coordinating with the national consumer protection authorities, the adoption of measures to avoid the shortage, hoarding and speculation of prices of basic consumer products and medicines.

The call was also extended to regional bodies and agencies, such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Council of Ministers for Economic Integration (COMIECO) and the Council of Ministers of Treasury or Finance of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COSEFIN) , CEPREDENAC and particularly the Council of Ministers of Health (COMISCA), to deepen the measures that have been adopted to deal with the pandemic in different ways.

Learn more actions:Extraordinary Meeting of COMISCA on COVID-19

During his speech,the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega , appreciated the regional actions under SICA not only for dealing with the coronavirus emergency, but also for the development of the region. "This action plan is a commitment and encourages the Central American peoples, because our solutions must be regional."

Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic, , expressed that one of the measures that should be deepened as a region is the joint purchase of medicines and medical implements in light of the health situation, to lower prices. He added “Coronavirus cases in the Dominican Republic have not been infected in the territory either. We can make agreements to make a joint purchase. It would be very beneficial for all countries. The Dominican Republic is ready to work together with you. We have an integrationist spirit..

For his part, Hugo Patt, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, assured that the “Epidemic does not only affect a country and the important point to address is that the efforts of the region will depend on the success of each institution. Regardless of each country''s effort, it is important to assume responsibility as a region. ”

In the extraordinary meeting, the Secretary General of SICA, Vinicio Cerezo, made a call to jointly face the recently declared pandemic, putting the actions and good practices in common to counter the spread of the virus and to avoid more infections and deaths, and be able to strategically address human and economic impacts.

"As the coronavirus is the first pandemic in times of social networks, its political, social and economic impacts can get out of control, that is why this regional space and facing it together is so important, whenever appropriate, glimpse even the economic solutions that we can implement to alleviate the crisis ”, he concluded.

Through the articulation and coordination of work between the SICA institutions, the governments of the Member States, national, regional and international authorities and other sectors, whose aim is to face the pandemic and have a "Central America allied against CORONAVIRUS"

The Executive Secretary of COMISCA, Alejandro Solís also participated the meeting; the General Secretary of the Secretariat for Economic Integration SIECA, Melvin Redondo; the President of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), Dante Mossi; and the Head of the Regional Center for Disaster Prevention CEPREDENAC, Claudia Herrera.

Due to migratory movements in the region, confirmed cases are already reported by laboratories. According to the official information channels of the Member Governments of SICA, until March 11, Panama has already registered 27 cases (1 deceased); 5 for Dominican Republic , 13 for Costa Rica and 2 for Honduras.

Furthermore, the WHO recently declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic and has asked countries to step up with actions to mitigate the spread and protect populations to save lives.

You will be interested to read:

English version:
Declaration by the heads of states and governments of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Dominican Republic facing the pandemic of COVID-19

Versión Español:
Declaración de los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá y república Dominicana ante la pandemia de COVID-19

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Boletín Informativo de la Secretaría General del SICA