#BlueStarBrief: Coronavirus Response Update

Coronavirus Response Update
A View from the Americas

We have been monitoring coronavirus developments in the Americas and want to share information that you may not have seen from other sources. We hope you and your families are and remain safe as we collectively take steps to safeguard each other and our communities.

In the United States:

  • On March 13, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, opening up initial access to $50 billion in federal resources and financial assistance for states, localities, and territories.

  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force has issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global outbreak. Click here for the latest news, guidance, and support on COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • In the U.S. House of Representatives, legislators have passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide relief and economic support to American families. This multi-billion dollar emergency response and economic stimulus bill "provid[es] paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expand[s] food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requir[es] employers to provide additional protections for health care workers."

  • While there were initial concerns that the Senate would modify the House bill, the Senate now plans to pass the coronavirus relief package today March 18 without changes. The bill provides paid leave, enhanced unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and health care aid.

  • U.S. leaders are considering additional legislation to address the significant impact the coronavirus is having on the U.S. economy. On March 17, the White House and Congress began discussing $1 trillion in emergency economic stimulus that would put money in the hands of American workers and industries suffering as a result of the virus.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed previously scheduled oral arguments including a number of high-profile cases to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Federal and state courts across the country have temporarily or indefinitely suspended new jury trials for criminal and civil cases and other legal proceedings.

  • While the Governor of Ohio postponed the state's presidential primary scheduled for March 17, three other states Arizona, Florida, and Illinois — each held their primary contests yesterday. To protect the public as the coronavirus continues to spread, several governors have rescheduled their state contests in the campaign to select the Democratic Party's presidential nominee:
    • Georgia from March 24 — now May 19
    • Puerto Rico from March 29 now April 26
    • Louisiana from April 4 now June 20
    • Maryland from April 28 now June 2
    • Kentucky from May 19 — now June 23

In Canada:

  • The Canadian government has committed more than $1 billion to public health measures to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.

  • Canadian health authorities have published extensive travel advice for Canadians that is regularly updated as the situation evolves.

  • On March 18, the United States and Canada announced that the two countries will be temporarily closing their border the world's longest border between any two nations to non-essential travel. More details are expected to be forthcoming.

In Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • The nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are taking steps to protect public health and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, as one of the last major regions to face the growing pandemic.

  • Mexico has declared March 23 to be a National Day of Healthy Distance, while Argentina has implemented a 30-day ban on travel by non-residents from coronavirus-affected countries.

  • As concern grows, a variety of countries throughout Central and South America have implemented new restrictions on travel and guidance to promote social distancing.

  • As a public service, The Miami Herald is tracking a country-by-country breakdown of measures taken by governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.


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