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COVID-19 and its effects in Latin America

Follow the main news about coronavirus and its impacts in Latin America

Updates on Coronavirus

  • March 28, 20 - 6:47 pm - LABS

    Brazilian startup James Delivery suspends delivery fees for larger purchases and COVID-19’s risk group customers

    The delivery app James, owned by the retail giant GPA that controls the supermarkets chains Extra and Pão de Açúcar, suspended the delivery fees for a large part of the purchases made through its app, in order to help people to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis. 

    Free delivery is valid for those who buy from BRL 50 in supermarkets, and from BRL 25 for selected partner restaurants.

    The delivery app is also making free deliveries for those who are part of the risk group to COVID -19, such as the elderly, health professionals and people who have chronic diseases.

    James operates in 18 Brazilian cities. In addition to the delivery service for Extra and Pão de Açúcar chains, it also works with various types of commercial establishments, including small and medium-sized companies.

    In addition to free deliveries, and using the services of the social impact startup Polen, James is also raising donations through its app for three NGOs – CUFA, an organization that supports communities from slums in 27 Brazilian states, is one of them.

  • March 28, 20 - 6:22 pm - LABS

    Colombia allocates $17,3 million to protect employment

    The National Government fo Colombia reported that in order to protect the employment in the country, it injected COP 70 billion ($17.3 million) into the National Guarantee Fund.

    The idea is to strengthen the cash flow of institutions such as Banco Agrario, Bancoldex and Findeter, so that these institutions can offer payroll financing credit to companies. According to the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, about a third of the amount announced should go to micro, small and medium-sized companies.

    According to data from the Colombian Ministry of Labor, small and medium-sized companies are responsible for 35% of Colombian GDP, and account for 80% of the country’s jobs–that is, 16 million workers.

  • March 28, 20 - 5:04 pm - LABS

    Google will spend over $800 million to support small businesses, health organizations, and researchers

    On Friday, Google‘s CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new $800+ million commitment to support small and medium-sized businesses, health organizations and governments, in addition to health workers on the frontline of COVID-19 pandemic disease.

    Among the measures included in this commitment by the technological giant are:

    • $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies globally provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
    • A $200 million investment fund that will support NGOs and financial institutions to help provide small businesses with access to capital;
    • $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year;
    • A pool of $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers to leverage computing capabilities and infrastructure as they study potential therapies and vaccines, track critical data, and identify new ways to combat COVID-19.
    Google’s chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai. Photo: Google.
  • March 28, 20 - 4:39 pm - LABS

    Brazilian government to launch line of credit to advance payments to public sector suppliers

    According to the federal government news agency, a credit line for advancing payments from the public sector suppliers is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. Today, the Brazilian federal government purchases BRL 48 billion a year from suppliers in different areas.

    In this modality to be launched, the supplier of products or services will make a loan with a bank, having as a colateral the contract with a public agency. The bank will prepay the bill, with a discount rate. When the government pays the bill, the money will be sent to the bank.

  • March 28, 20 - 3:54 pm - LABS

    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, 11.5 million Brazilians live in crowded houses

    In addition to the lack of ICU beds and equipments such as ventilators and masks, the largest economy in Latin America also suffers from a reality that diminishes the effects of social distance as a measure to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. This Saturday Folha de S.Paulo reports that 11.5 million Brazilians–or almost 6% of the country’s population–live in crowded houses.

    READ ALSO: Brazilian government launches campaign against isolation, and deletes posts days later

    In these houses more than 3 family members share the same dormitory. The data is from the National Household Sample Survey, called Pnad Contínua, from IBGE, 2018.

    Poor community in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Skreidzeleu / Shutterstock

    Also according to Folha, the problem is greater precisely in the capitals, where the number of coronavirus confirmed cases is bigger. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza are among those with more inhabitants living in the same household. The city of São Paulo, the one that most concentrates cases in the country, accumulates one third of these people.

  • March 28, 20 - 2:44 pm - LABS

    Brazilian government closes airports for foreigners

    The Brazilian government had already banned, for 30 days, the entry of foreigners coming from European Union member countries and some Asian countries. The measure has now been extended to foreigners of all nationalities. Read more about it.

    Guarulhos International Airport
    Guarulhos International Airport. Photo: Shutterstock
  • March 27, 20 - 7:51 pm - LABS

    New sales platform by EBANX helps small businesses

    EBANX Beep platform. Photo: EBANX

    EBANX is launching in Brazil a platform that offers merchants a source of revenue during the period their operations will be closed or deeply affected by the coronavirus crisisEBANX Beep  includes a feature that allows the sale of vouchers for products and services. The main goal is to help businesses that have no cash flow during the quarantine season in the country.

    We developed this feature with the intention of facilitating the sales of small businesses and self-employed professionals in this delicate moment. Hence, we will be able to connect them to the people who can and want to help

    André Boaventura, partner and CMO at EBANX.
  • March 27, 20 - 4:23 pm - LABS

    Brazilian government to provide BRL 40 billion in credit for companies to pay salaries

    The Brazilian government announced that it will open an emergency credit line for SMB, which earn between BRL 360,000 and BRL 10 million a year, intended to finance wages for workers. The program will demand BRL 40 billion and will be funded mostly by the National Treasury, as Folha de S.Paulo newspaper learned this Friday, 27.

    The program will finance up to two minimum wages per employee. If the worker earns more than that, the credit will only contemplate the established limit, and the company may complete the payment. According to the Brazilian Central Bank‘s president Roberto Campos Neto, the program could reach around 12 million people and 1.4 million companies. The initiative was formulated by the country’s Ministry of Economy and BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development).

    Of the total amount, BRL 17 billion (per month, for two months) will be financed through National Treasury resources and the remaining part will come from the banking sector itself.

    It will be expressed on the contract [that there can be no dismissal for two months] and the money will go directly to the employee. So, if he gets fired, the company will have to bear the costs and will not receive the resources.

    Roberto Campos Neto, BRAZILIAN CENTRAL BANK’S PRESIDENT to Folha de s.paulo

    Companies that accept to take part in the program will not be able to fire employees for two months. “The money goes directly to the payroll, the company is left with only the debt,” Campos Neto said, according to the media outlet. The wages will be financed for each employee with a zero spread (3.75%). The loan will have a six-month grace period and will be split into 36 installments.

  • March 27, 20 - 3:11 pm - LABS

    Brazilian government launches campaign against isolation, and deletes posts days later

    On March 25th, the Brazilian government’ official profile on Instagram posted a campaign called #BrasilNãoPodeParar (or ‘Brazil Cannot Stop’). The campaign against isolation measures corroborates the controversial speeches of the President Jair Bolsonaro in recent days, and contradicts the decisions announced by the Ministry of Health, as well as state and city governments to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

    On Saturday 28th, after negative reactions, the posts were removed. Read more about it

    The post was made on March 25th, but, apparently it was removed on Saturday 28th. Image: Print/Instagram.
  • March 27, 20 - 2:49 pm - LABS

    Argentina closes borders to curb the pandemic’s advance

    This Friday (27), the Argentine government closed all its borders until at least March 31 to curb coronavirus’ advance in the country. The information is from the international news agency AFP.

    The new action comes as a reinforcement of measures adopted in mid-March when the government forbade the entry of non-resident foreigners into the country, but the arrival of Argentines and resident foreigners was still allowed. “The scope of the ban on entry into the national territory is expanded through ports, airports, international crossings, border centers”, the official text expressed, according to the agency.

    Only those who are in transit checked in the last 48 hours will be able to enter the Argentine territory, specifies the rule that provides financial aid to Argentines who are held abroad. President Alberto Fernández has ordered almost complete mandatory confinement from Friday last week until March 31, a deadline that can be extended in the next few hours.

    The new measures “are essential, reasonable and proportionate in relation to the threat and risk to health that the country faces”, according to the decree. The number of those infected with the pandemic in the country increased to 589 on Friday, with 12 deaths.

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