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Virus: More than 1,000 deaths in one day in Brazil, WHO management survey

By AFP | May 20th 2020 at 09:20:00 GMT +0300

The coronavirus pandemic, in decline in Europe, is growing sharply in Latin America, where Brazil has exceeded for the first time 1,000 deaths in 24 hours, while the World Health Organization, highly criticized by Washington, accepted an investigation into its management of the health crisis.

Five months after the appearance in China of this disease which killed more than 320,000 people in the world, Brazil has become the third country in the world in number of contaminations. And he recorded Tuesday a daily toll of 1,179 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

This increase brought the total death toll to 17,971 in Brazil, which deplores more than half of the more than 30,000 deaths recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Many experts consider the ministerial figures very largely underestimated: Brazil is in dire need of tests.

Other Latin American countries are also recording strong increases in Covid-19.

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This is the case of Chile, 18 million inhabitants, which experienced its strongest increase in contamination (3,520) and deaths (31) on Tuesday in 24 hours. "We are in a very complex, very difficult time," said Health Minister Jaime Mañalich.

WHO "puppet"

Nicaragua, 6 million people, has also recorded a sharp increase in infections, with 254 cases, 10 times more than a week ago, and 17 deaths, announced Tuesday the Minister of Health, Martha Reyes .

Again, the official figures are far from those of NGOs which report more than a thousand contaminations.

In Colombia, the general confinement imposed for two months is extended until May 31 and the state of health emergency until August 31.

The 194 member countries of the World Health Organization agreed Tuesday during a teleconference to launch "as soon as possible ... an impartial, independent and complete evaluation process" on "the measures taken by the WHO facing the Covid-19 pandemic and their chronology ".

This agreement is a response to the accusations of US President Donald Trump, who judges that the WHO is a "puppet" of China and issued him a month's ultimatum to obtain significant results, on pain of leaving this agency. of ONU.

Beijing for its part accused Trump of seeking to "shirk his obligations" to the WHO and "sully China's efforts in the face of the epidemic".

Russia has defended the WHO and denounced the attitude of Washington. "We are against a breakage (of the WHO), which would go in the direction of the political or geopolitical interests of a single state, in other words the United States," said Russian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Riabkov.

"Shameful" inaction

Several NGOs, including the International Rescue Committee and the International Crisis Group, have deemed the shameful inaction in the face of the pandemic by the UN Security Council, paralyzed by a confrontation between the United States and China.

In the United States, the most heavily affected country in the world with a total of nearly 92,000 dead, daily reports remain high, with more than 1,500 deaths announced Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University, which refers.

The difficult debate between the need, put forward by Donald Trump, to reopen the American economy and the risk of further weighing up the balance sheet, stressed by experts, remains lively.

During a hearing in the Senate, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin spoke of a "risk of lasting damage" to the national economy if it was not revived quickly enough.

The borders of the United States with Mexico and Canada will remain closed for at least an additional month, until June 20 inclusive, for all non-essential movements, announced the American health authorities.

In South Korea, a country that managed to control an epidemic that hit it early, schools began to reopen, with high school students.

"It is really great to meet my friends and my teachers face to face, but we must strictly follow the disinfection instructions," said AFP, one of them, Oh Chang-hwa. "I am very worried but it's still nice to see them again".

Gradual reductions

In Europe, the pandemic is considered to be under control, daily reports are generally falling, and the trend is to gradually lift, more or less rapid depending on the country, severe restrictions taken at the height of the health crisis.

Five central European countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) plan to open the borders between them around mid-June.

Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece have agreed to ease travel restrictions in effect since mid-March from mid-June.

In Spain, Barcelona is due to reopen parks and beaches on Wednesday for walkers - but not bathers.

After Italy, which announced on Saturday that it was reopening its borders to tourists from the European Union from June 3 and canceled the compulsory quarantine for foreign visitors, Greece must present its plan for the resumption of the season on Wednesday touristic.

Europe has a total of more than 168,000 dead, according to a report established by AFP from official sources Tuesday at 19:00 GMT.

Africa, with less than 3,000 deaths and some 88,000 cases, is for the time being relatively spared from the pandemic, which is progressing at a slower pace than expected.

 

For the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, "this slowness is largely due to the fact that most of the governments and societies in Africa have taken very courageous preventive measures in time which are, moreover, a lesson for some countries. developed who haven't."


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