Latin America in nightmare, almost back to normal in France

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The pandemic is currently wreaking havoc in South America where hospitals are overwhelmed. In Europe, on the other hand, deconfinement is in full swing.

Peru surpassed 170,000 confirmed cases and 4,600 deaths on Monday, putting the country’s health system on the verge of collapse. (Photo ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)


With nearly 30,000 deaths in Brazil and more than 10,000 deaths in Mexico, the coronavirus epidemic threatens to collapse the hospital systems of Latin America while France, having gone through this nightmare a few years ago weeks, Tuesday begins a virtual return to normal.

Four Latin American countries (Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico) are among the ten who have recorded the highest number of new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours, said Monday the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Clearly, the situation in many Latin American countries is far from stabilized,” said Michael Ryan, WHO director of health emergencies.

“There has been a rapid increase in cases and these (health) systems are under pressure,” he said at a virtual press conference in Geneva, expressing particular concern for Haiti.

The pandemic has killed at least 373,439 people and infected 6.3 million people worldwide since its onset in December in China, according to a report drawn up by AFP from official sources on Monday at 8 p.m. (Swiss time) .

In Brazil, a giant of 210 million inhabitants where the death toll is close to 30,000 dead, containment measures or, on the contrary, deconfinement measures are taken there in dispersed order according to states or cities. And President Jair Bolsonaro regularly calls for the lifting of restrictions to preserve the economy and jobs.

In Rio de Janeiro, the municipality announced on Monday a plan to gradually return to business, the first measures of which take effect on Tuesday. Religious ceremonies can resume and individual water sports, such as surfing or swimming, are again allowed on the miles of beaches in the “Wonderful City”. But no one can stay on the sand.

The state of Sao Paulo, the first source of coronavirus in Brazil but also its economic engine, began cautiously starting a gradual deconfinement plan on Monday.

Other Latin American countries continue to see an expansion of the disease. In Mexico, the balance sheet crossed the threshold of 10,000 dead on Monday even as the country also begins the resumption of its economic activity.

Bring your own oxygen

Peru surpassed 170,000 confirmed cases and 4,600 deaths on Monday, putting the healthcare system of this country of 33 million people on the verge of collapse. The country is notably facing a shortage of oxygen.

“Some hospitals ask (families of patients) to bring their own oxygen, because unfortunately there is not enough for all patients,” said on a television channel the dean of the council of the Order of the doctors from Lima, Juan Astuvilca.

The United States, for its part, surpassed 105,000 dead on Monday, a toll that makes them, and by far, the country in the world hardest hit by the pandemic.

Europe, which lived this nightmare before the American continent, is now at the time of normalization.

In France, where the Covid-19 killed nearly 30,000 people, a major step in the deconfinement plan came into effect on Tuesday. This is notably the end of the ban on traveling more than 100 km from home, a measure eagerly awaited by residents of large cities eager for fresh air or families separated by distance for more than two months.

“Maybe next weekend I will see my grandchildren, who are in Nantes,” said Linda Espallargas in Paris. “But I will take my car to be well insulated, because I am still afraid of the virus, I am over 65 years old so I am wary.”

Restaurants reopen in France

After the reopening of parks and gardens throughout France on Saturday, the beaches, museums, monuments, zoos and even theaters will be able to reopen on Tuesday, respecting certain rules of distancing or wearing a mask.

French cafes, bars and restaurants affected by more than two months of closure have been actively preparing for several days to welcome the public.

Monday, major tourist spots in Europe started to welcome the public, even if health precautions and travel restrictions still prevent the arrival of large crowds.

In Rome, the Colosseum, Italy’s busiest tourist site, welcomed nearly 300 people who made an online reservation on Monday, far from the usual 20,000 daily tourists.

“We take advantage of the absence of foreign tourists to come for a walk,” said Pierluigi, a Roman who came to visit the Colosseum with his wife for the first time.

In Spain, where for the first time in three months the virus has left no dead in 24 hours, the iconic Guggenheim Museum has reopened.

In Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar, inaccessible to the public since March 23, has reopened its doors. “Life goes on and customers are waiting,” said Yasar Sabuncu, one of some 30,000 shopkeepers in the large indoor market, after reopening his shop on shelves stocked with souvenirs and leather goods.

Reopening measures in Europe do not silence controversies about the current dangerousness of the virus.

A famous Italian doctor and emergency doctor, Dr. Alberto Zangrillo, director of the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, said that the coronavirus had disappeared from Italy and that it was time to stop unnecessarily “terrorizing” the Italians.

The remarks sparked an outcry from Italian authorities, other experts and the WHO, who said the new coronavirus “remains a killer virus”.

While many countries have started their deconfinement, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released a series of health recommendations for air transport on Monday to relaunch this sector severely affected by the coronavirus.

((AFP / NXP)


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