Government officials and heads of state from the Forum for the Progress and Development of South America (PROSUR) discussed coordinated efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

According to the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, and the Brazilian foreign minister, as well as ministers of foreign affairs, health, and education, participated in a video conference on Monday.

The leaders agreed, among other things, to maintain channels of communication, coordinate border protection measures, and increase diagnostic capacity.

Many governments in the region closed their borders to non-citizens. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency and quarantined the capital city of Caracas.

According to data from the World Health Organization, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus is accelerating in South America.

Data from the World Health Organization / Graph by Nathan Davis

While the figures in South America are dwarfed by those in China or Europe, there is a fear that the disease could take a similar trajectory as it has in Italy or Iran if measures are not taken now.