World Facts

South American Countries Most Affected By Covid-19

Like every other continent except for Antarctica, South America has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus has hit just about every corner of the Earth, except for a relatively  small group of countries, considering the size of the globe. Antarctica, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Yemen, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Comoros, San Tome, Principe, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all remain COVID-19-free as of the time of this writing, according to Newsweek.

Many countries that are experiencing outbreaks of the coronavirus have governmental imposed lockdowns, or citizens being encouraged to shelter-in-place and stay at home as much as possible, only venturing out for necessary items such as groceries. Sweden is an exception, with people still roaming the streets freely. Swedes are  attending restaurants and going to gyms. Residents are taking precautions such as working from home, but the government is also saying that the health and safety of the population is largely up to each individual. 

In South America, however, things are looking quite different.  

Indigeneous Tribes

Members of an indigenous tribe from Brazil in a past protest event. Image credit: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/

Indigeneous people throughout South America are reacting to news of the coronavirus by literally running for the hills. And it is difficult to blame them. 

According to The, tribal groups across Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are experiencing a strong emotional reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout history, infectious diseases like measles, the flu and smallpox have devastated Indigeneous populations in South America and elsewhere. 

It is estimated that diseases brought by Europeans to the Americas may have wiped out as much as 90% of the pre-Columbian population, between the 15th and 17th centuries. This could have amounted to some 55 million people. 

Indigeneous peoples have long disappeared into their most remote territories when disease arrives. Sometimes the tactic works, while at others, the tribes risk bringing the illness back with them, and obliterating entire groups of people. In the face of COVID-19, they are now rushing to run before it hits. 

Hard-Hit Countries 


Empty street and avenue are seen in downtown SP due to coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. Image credit: Editorial credit: Nelson Antoine /

Given that Brazil is the largest country in South America, it is no surprise that it is experiencing the highest amount of confirmed cases of COVID-19. By March 28, there were 5,717 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. On March 27, the president closed all its borders via air to foreigners for thirty days. There has been tension in the country between the government and media, with the former accusing the latter of spreading hysteria among the people. It went so far that the government attempted to implement an anti-social distancing campaign, to get the economy up and running again after a quarantine. 


Chile has 2,738 cases of the coronavirus confirmed as of March 28. The government’s response is not that strong, however, in the face of the pandemic. A one-week quarantine started on March 25, which is subject to renewal, but it is only for seven hard-hit municipalities in the country. 


This country is having a hard time. With over 2,240 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on its hands as of March 28, and as one of the smallest countries in South America by geography, it is facing a huge uphill battle. 

Travel within the country is being limited, depending on a person’s license plate, (only certain plates can travel at certain times). Transportation between provinces has been suspended, as well as domestic flights. The president has declared that cell phones and utilities cannot be cut off during the crisis due to lack of payment. Social gatherings of more than thirty people are banned and the government is scrambling to get control of the viral outbreak. 


Peru has over 1065 confirmed cases as of March 28, and citizens are under quarantine. A nightly curfew is also in place, and households are receiving government payments of about $100 for support. 

All privately owned vehicles have been banned from road travel and the people are supporting strict measures to keep the death rate in check. In short, the government is doing what it can to cover all its bases before the coronavirus covers them first.


Man In Buenos Aires, Argentina, near Argentine Obelisk with face mask. Image credit: Editorial credit: Madbeat /

Argentina had over 950 confirmed cases as of March 30. On March 7, it was the first Latin American country to announce a coronavirus death- a 64-year-old man died in Buenos Aires. Until at least mid-April, borders have been closed, and all citizens living under a mandatory quarantine. 

Basically, the president is at loggerheads with the top medical officials, and the public is not pleased. 


Colombia is far behind Brazil with just over 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the time of this writing near the end of March. Beginning March 24, the country is currently under a mandatory quarantine that will last until mid-April. No in-bound international commercial flights are allowed. 

South American Countries Most Affected By Covid-19

1 Brazil5,7172016
2 Chile2,73812156
3 Ecuador2,2407546
4 Peru10653016
5 Argentina96626240
6 Colombia7981514
7 Uruguay320125
8 Venezuela135339
9 Bolivia10760
10 Paraguay6931
11 French Guiana4306
12 Guyana1210
13 Suriname1000

About the Author

A prior educator with a background in the arts, Victoria Simpson has a passion for communicating her ideas through writing. You can find her picture book, Eating I Forget, on Amazon. Her articles and webcopy have been published on countless websites including, Autoguide, eBay, Digital Home and Iremia Skincare, among others. She is now excited to be contributing to World Atlas. 


Your MLA Citation

Your APA Citation

Your Chicago Citation

Your Harvard Citation

Remember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.

More in World Facts