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VOA: Eric Farnsworth - "Regional Coordination of Pandemics Needs to Be Strengthened"

People wearing masks in São Paulo. (AP)

People wearing masks in São Paulo. (AP)

April 20, 2020

Eric Farnsworth, AS/COA vice president, spoke to Carol Castiel from Voice of America's Encounter podcast about the varying national responses from Latin American countries to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"It varies from country to country and even regions within countries, but broadly speaking, testing across the region is underwhelming at this point," Farnsworth said. He emphasized the hope of cooperation across the region, naming the Pan American Health Organization, the United States, or a country in South America as a potential coordinator.

"Most countries at this point are just wrapped up in their own domestic crises, trying to figure out on their own," Farnsworth said. "I think this is a key learning that all of us are going to come away from this crisis with: regional coordination of pandemics, just like we’ve had to learn in terms of humanitarian crises and natural disasters, is really something that needs to be strengthened."

Farnsworth said the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the crisis in Venezuela, and "a huge amount could be done within Venezuela itself if Mr. Maduro would allow the international community to bring humanitarian assistance into the country."