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From sanitary barrier to solidarity: How cities are responding to the pandemic

Continuing the series of articles that highlight the initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean to face the Covid-19 pandemic, we bring experiences in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Cities that participate in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean stand out for the implementation of emergency public policies to assist their populations in a moment of great turbulence worldwide. Participate by sending suggestions for initiatives in your city.

Serra Talhada – Brazil

The municipality of Serra Talhada, in the Sertão de Pernambuco, launched the Sertão Saúde application, a tool to help fight Covid-19. The tool is available on the city hall website and provides protection tips, information, a questionnaire on the health status of the population, places with the highest incidence of flu symptoms and updated bulletins on the disease situation in the municipality.

The municipality will also implement sanitary barriers to investigate suspected Covid-19 cases. The professionals will check the temperature and check histories of suspicious contacts, which, when confirmed, will be forwarded to the public health network.

For students with suspended classes, a joint effort between parents and teachers in the municipality has guaranteed the sending of activities to be done at home. Families in urban and rural areas receive suggestions for reading and exercises for students via whatsapp messages.

Serra Talhada’s City Hall Sertão Saúde app

São Mateus – Brazil

The municipality of Espírito Santo also implemented a sanitary barrier to prevent the proliferation of the Coronavirus. At the entrance to the city, health agents, the Health Surveillance and also the Military Police note people’s itineraries, check pressure, temperature and other symptoms for proper referral to health units on duty.

Another measure taken by the city was the ban on access to beaches, public squares and living centers. Municipal employees take turns working in person or remotely, to minimize agglomerations and circulation in public buildings.

Corrientes – Argentina

The Argentine city implemented a strict quarantine, with the suspension of classes and access to beaches and public places. Another bet of the municipality was solidarity, with the creation of the “Juntos Chamigo” volunteer network to provide exclusive assistance to residents of the elderly. The volunteers are dedicated to checking the temperature of the elderly, in addition to supporting vaccination operations, psychological assistance, routine activities, making masks, transfers and purchases of supplies.

The city opened a telephone call channel for the elderly to request support and for volunteers to apply. In the same channel, the population can offer donations, give suggestions, in addition to merchants being able to register their establishments in the offer of delivery to homes, supporting social isolation.

Asuncion – Paraguay

The capital of Paraguay concentrates 90% of the cases of Covid-19 in the country. The quarantine was extended until April 19 and the disregard for social isolation is subject to a fine and only persons who prove essential services can enter or leave the capital.

The borders remain restricted and only those who undergo 15 days of social isolation can enter the country. The International Friendship Bridge has been closed since 17 March, the busiest border crossing in Paraguay and Brazil. Another measure that should last while the city is in quarantine is the delivery of food kits to families of students who are without classes and have been without meals offered at schools.







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