Coronavirus: 347,723 deaths worldwide, contamination on the rise in Latin America

Coronavirus: 347,723 deaths worldwide, contamination on the rise in Latin America

The pandemic is increasing its devastation in Latin America, its "new epicentre". Chile has thus recorded a new record of contaminations.

The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has killed at least 347,723 people worldwide since it appeared in China in December, according to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) based on official sources on Tuesday 26 May at 9 pm.

More than 5,541,590 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 196 countries and territories since the beginning of the epidemic, of which at least 2,191,200 are now considered cured. However, this number of diagnosed cases reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Some countries test only severe cases, others use the tests primarily for tracing, and many poor countries have limited testing capacity.

The United States is the most affected country with 98,584 deaths. Next come the United Kingdom, with 37 048 deaths for 265 227 cases, Italy, with 32 955 deaths (230 555 cases), France, with 28 530 deaths (182 722 cases), and Spain, with 27 117 deaths (236 259 cases).

Among the worst affected countries, Belgium has the highest number of deaths in relation to its population, with 81 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, followed by Spain (58), the United Kingdom (55), Italy (55) and France (44).

China (excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macao) officially counted 82,992 cases (7 new cases between Monday and Tuesday), including 4,634 deaths (no new deaths), and 78,277 recoveries.


Rising contamination in Latin America
The pandemic is intensifying its devastation in Latin America, its "new epicentre", according to WHO. Chile has recorded a new record of 4,895 new infections in 24 hours, including a minister in the government of President Sebastian Piñera. The country of 18 million people has recorded 73,997 cases of Covid-19, including 761 deaths since the first case appeared on March 3.

At the same time, the Uruguayan President, Luis Lacalle Pou, will reinforce sanitary measures in the town of Rivera, located on the border with Brazil, where a new outbreak of Covid-19 has been detected. "We have received the approval of the Brazilian president to implement the [binational health action] treaty, and in the next few hours we are going to put it into practice," Lacalle Pou said at a press conference. Controls will be tightened to reduce traffic to and from the northern border town of Rivera.

Easing of measures around the world

Conversely, many countries are relaxing containment measures. In Montreal, the epicentre of the epidemic in Canada, the city centre regained some colour on Monday with the reopening of shops on the famous Sainte-Catherine Street, after two months of containment.

Closed for nine weeks, the Icelandic nightclubs have once again become electrified. The establishments must now close their doors by 11 p.m. at the latest, as must bars and games rooms, which are also reopening.

One third of Ecuador's 17 million inhabitants gradually resumed their activities on Monday, Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo announced.

In Luxembourg, the government has announced for this week the reopening of cafés and restaurants and the authorisation of religious ceremonies.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, will begin this week a gradual easing of measures, the official press reported on Tuesday. Travel between regions will be allowed, as well as the reopening of some shops. The country has also announced a reopening of mosques by 31 May, and will end all curfews from 21 June, except in the holy city of Mecca.

As for Syria, it announced the lifting of the curfew as of Tuesday. Damascus has also reauthorized travel between governorates.

In Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, a handful of priests of Christian denominations solemnly attended the opening of the Basilica of the Nativity, which had been closed since 5 March.

In Hungary, the controversial state of emergency adopted to combat the new coronavirus is expected to be lifted on 20 June, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday, accusing it of using the pandemic to strengthen its power.

Conversely, Germany has announced that it will extend until June 29 its distancing rules to contain the epidemic, Angela Merkel's government announced Tuesday.


Resignation in the United Kingdom

Au Royaume-Uni, la polémique autour d’un conseiller du premier ministre Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, accusé d’avoir enfreint les règles de confinement, continue d’ébranler le gouvernement : un secrétaire d’Etat, mécontent du soutien obtenu par ce conseiller, a démissionné mardi.


Call for a rapid reopening of borders in Europe

The President of the French National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, and his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, called on Tuesday for the borders between European countries to be reopened as soon as possible. "The closure of the Franco-German border has already had serious consequences, which go far beyond the border region and have an impact on the perception of Franco-German relations," they said, calling for "rapid action".

For its part, Italy is also pushing for a coordinated resumption of travel in Europe on 15 June, which could become the "D-Day" of tourism, according to its Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio.

Spain, for its part, invited its European Union partners on Tuesday to establish common rules on opening borders and restoring freedom of movement in the Schengen area.

Blocked tourists : Paris increases flights and sea links to Morocco and Algeria
France will set up three daily flights to Algiers and a "sea bridge" with Morocco to repatriate its nationals still blocked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the French Foreign Minister announced Tuesday. Only seven weekly flights currently connect Algiers to Paris.

The countries of North Africa, a popular destination for French tourists and many binationals, have closed their airspace since mid-March. Thousands of French nationals are still stranded, despite the special flights already chartered.


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