COVID-19: Too many countries “going in the wrong direction”, says WHO

WHO worried Monday about too many countries facing the virus “taking the wrong direction” and warned that the return to normal was not for tomorrow, as cities continue to reconfigure and that South America is now the second most bereaved region.

“Too many countries are going in the wrong direction,” said director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “If basic principles are not followed, this pandemic can only go in one direction. It will get worse and worse, “he said.

“I want to be frank with you: there will be no return to old normalcy for the foreseeable future,” he said, after a record day of 230,000 new cases of coronavirus.

In Morocco, the city of Tangier (north), populated by around one million inhabitants, was to be reconfigured from Monday midday after the outbreak of epidemic foci.

Public transport will be suspended, cafes, shopping malls, markets and public spaces closed, and controls strengthened, so that residents leave their homes “only in cases of extreme necessity”, said the Interior Minister .

In data | Our interactive content on COVID-19

This is also the case in the Philippines where an estimated 250,000 people in Manila will again be confined after an outbreak.

The situation in Catalonia (northeast of Spain) is the subject of a standoff between the regional authorities who want to reconfigure nearly 200,000 people from the city of Lleida and surrounding municipalities, and the justice that opposes it.

While the city’s court “decided not to ratify” these “illegal” measures, Catalan separatist regional president Quim Torra said on Monday that he would adopt a decree to impose it.

In the streets of Lleida, the shops often remained open, as did the café terraces, and the masked inhabitants continued to go out, but the population was disconcerted.

“If one says one thing, the other says the opposite, the people themselves do not know what they can or cannot do,” noted Eugène Badila, a 41-year-old sales agent, while his colleague, Sabrina Pigaro, 32, said: “We should confine ourselves again for a while, until all of this has passed.”

Latin America, second most affected region

Latin America and the Caribbean became the second most affected region in the world by the pandemic on Monday, behind Europe, with more than 144,760 deaths officially reported.

It thus exceeds the balance sheets of the United States and Canada (more than 144,000 dead).

Brazil is the most bereaved country in the region and alone accounts for 72,100 deaths, followed by Mexico (more than 35,000 deaths).

In Colombia, containment is tightened from Monday in Bogotá, after the relaxation decided by the government due to the economic collapse. Until August 23, areas are placed in “strict quarantine” to take turns leaving 2.5 million people in their homes.

In South Africa, the most affected country on the continent, President Cyril Ramaphosa decided to reimpose a curfew on Sunday due to the rise in daily cases of contamination. Family visits will also be prohibited.

Asked to limit parties in Sydney

Concern remains as strong in Australia: after the reconfiguration for six weeks decided last Thursday for Melbourne, the second city of the country, the inhabitants of Sydney were asked Monday to limit Monday the festive evenings after the appearance of a new home epidemic in a pub.

In the United States, the pandemic continues to flare up, particularly in large southern states, and the mayors of several large cities are considering or demanding a reorganization.

In Miami, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is seven times higher than it was in March and April, according to mayor Francis Suarez. “It is out of control,” he said. As for a reconfiguration, “we have to consider it,” he said, deferring to the day when hospitals tell him they can no longer cope.

The United States recorded 59,747 new infections in 24 hours on Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins University daily report. The death toll stands at 135,171.

As for the economic effects of the health crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still pessimistic for the Middle East. It lowered its growth forecast to its lowest level in half a century, due to the “double shock” of low oil prices and the pandemic.

The UN warns of the global recession caused by the new coronavirus that could drive an additional 83-132 million people into hunger.

The pandemic has killed more than 569,135 people worldwide since the World Health Organization (WHO) office in China reported the disease in late December.

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