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Latin America coronavirus cases pass 10,000

Coronavirus cases in Latin America surpassed 10,000 on Friday, according to an AFP count based on official government and World Health Organization figures.

The first case in Latin America was reported on February 26 in Brazil, which has become the regional epicenter of the pandemic with almost 3,000 cases and 77 deaths.

Overall, there have been 182 deaths from COVID-19 in Latin America and almost 10,500 cases.

The worst affected countries after Brazil are Chile with more than 1,600 cases and Ecuador with over 1,400. However, while Chile has suffered five deaths, there have been 34 in Ecuador.

Over the last week, Latin American countries have been reinforcing their measures to combat the outbreak.

Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela are in complete lockdown.

Guatemala, Honduras and Peru have imposed nighttime curfews and closed their borders.

But in countries with high levels of poverty, many governments have also put into action economic assistance plans.

Recession-hit Argentina, for example, has increased subsidies for poor families, pensioners and the unemployed, while pledging $5.3 billion to help small and medium-sized companies.

Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru have also offered one-off subsidies for poor families.

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