This week, South Korea and China have shown that it is not easy to lift the containment and that the authorities cannot lower their guard when it comes to preventing a coronavirus outbreak. In Germany, the figures have also raised concerns in the midst of de-escalation. The first students have been able to return to classrooms in France and Finland, while Russia takes the first steps to lift the restrictions, although a good number of daily cases continue to be recorded. In recent days, America has established itself as the epicenter of the pandemic, ahead of Europe and on the map of Africa, there are no more countries without confirmed infections.
Municipal employees work on the street in central Moscow, Russia, May 14, 2020.
EFE / EPA / YURI KOCHETKOVRELATED
We summarize the highlights of the week:
Several students at a Bordeaux school return to class this Tuesday after the start of the de-escalation in France
EFE / EPA / CAROLINE BLUMBERG
The week began with restlessness in Germany by a number: the one that measures the number of people a patient infects, on average. It is a key indicator of control of the epidemic, which the country had managed to keep below one. But for several days the so-called R0 rate has exceeded this figure, which has fueled concern about a possible rebound in cases at a time when the country it progresses in its lack of understanding. According to the latest report from the health authorities, it has fallen again and is currently at 0.75. The government agency that leads the outbreak surveillance has asked to observe “very carefully” the evolution of this indicator in the coming days and not to jump to conclusions, since it may suffer statistical fluctuations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the case of Germany illustrates that even in countries that have had “positive” responses to the pandemic, “Releasing confinements is complex and difficult”For this reason, it has once again asked governments to flee complacency and remain vigilant to avoid a resurgence of outbreaks.
Together with Germany, the WHO gave as an example what happened in South Korea, which is trying to speedily test all those who may have been in contact with a case detected in a bar and club area of Seoul. The researchers try to locate some 2,000 people, with the added difficulty of the strong discrimination suffered by the LGTBI community, since several local are linked to this group. Homophobic content on the Internet has skyrocketed: “If they test me, they’ll know I’m gay.”
The other example of the need to stay alert, according to the WHO, is Wuhan. The name the Chinese city in which SARS-CoV-2 was first detected has re-sounded this week after registering the first group of cases since its strict 76-day quarantine was lifted. Fear of a second wave of infections has prompted authorities to launch a massive test campaign. Their goal, they say, is to evaluate the 11 million inhabitants of the city, while the concern is focused mainly on asymptomatic patients. This Thursday, according to ReutersMen, women, and children were lining up under their umbrellas to be tested for nucleic acid at a residential complex in the city.
Meanwhile, the Government of Japan It has decided to lift the state of health alert in most of the national territory, where infections have been reduced, although it will continue in force in the Tokyo region.
We are still very aware of Russia, which has once again climbed the list of countries most affected by the pandemic. It is now the second, behind only the other great world power, the United States, with more than 250,000 cases accounted for, an increase that the Russian authorities attribute to an extensive test program. The doubts about how the deceased are being counted with COVID-19, since Russia has recorded in its official balances a much lower mortality than other territories with similar levels of contagion. The government has flatly denied any allegation of “statistical manipulation”. The city of Moscow has said it has attributed the death of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April because an autopsy showed that they had died from other causes, defending that it is an “exceptionally precise” methodology.
The Eurasian giant has made headlines for more reasons. The authorities have decided to suspend the use of a type of fan manufactured in the national territory after the fires in two hospitals, in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which claimed the lives of six people. The other news has been that despite the fact that the country has been registering around 10,000 new daily infections since the beginning of the month and the epidemic has shown no signs of subsiding, the President Vladimir PutinIt has opted to make confinement more flexible, although the regions have room to apply it. For example, Moscow will not reopen until the end of the month.
The announcement has drawn criticism from those who believe that reducing restrictions endangers the health of the population and is motivated by financial reasons, very similar to those faced by the President of the United States, Donald trump, who, by the way, has rekindled the controversy after responding to an Asian-American journalist who asked her question “to China”. Because the geopolitical battle does not end. US authorities this week accused Chinese hackers of carrying out cyber attacks against US research centers to steal information about the vaccines and treatments being tested against COVID-19. It is not the only example. Here we tell you how the search for answers about the origin of the coronavirus and how to end it has unleashed a wave of cyber espionage between States.
The most recent data of people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the world, who are already more than four million, confirm that the focus of the pandemic has shifted to America, It has surpassed Europe in the number of cases detected. The week has been especially hard in Brazil and Mexico, which have recorded their highest daily numbers of people who have died with coronaviruses since the start of the pandemic. In total, deaths in the Americas as a whole exceed 106,000.
Some of the images of the week have left them France, which this week has begun its gradual de-escalation process after almost two months of closing. Primary and infant students have been able to return to school voluntarily and giving priority to the children of parents who work in essential services such as health and police or in vulnerable situations. And what have we seen? Children playing at recess in individual painted squares on the floor, teachers with masks and separate desks with ribbons. Finland This Thursday has also taken the step, with the staggered opening of schools and kindergartens, a decision that has not been without controversy due to the opposition of some parents and teachers due to the risk of contagion, as has happened in other countries.
Imagine having to choose the four people with whom you can have dinner in the coming weeks. Who do you choose? What if they don’t choose you? Since Sunday, the citizens of Belgium are facing the puzzle of deciding what their “social bubble” in this phase of the lack of confidence. It is not the only country that is experimenting with this approach to gradually resume physical contact with friends and family. New Zealand, which appears to have controlled the outbreak with some success, has made a firm commitment to asking its citizens to interact in small, fixed groups. A curiosity: the island has entered this Thursday in its next level of mistrust and local media have shown to people queuing past midnight to cut your hair at the hairdresser.
Next Monday we will be very attentive to what happens in Italy, preparing to open numerous businesses and establishments after the government allowed the regions to reopen reopening by two weeks, despite the fact that the initial plan established longer deadlines. The concession came after a real pulse between both parties. Initially, it was stipulated that on May 18 it would be the turn of libraries, museums and retail stores and on June 1 it would be bars and restaurants and aesthetic centers. However, it is expected that the latter premises will open in much of the country on May 18. This week, the Executive has approved a decree that allocates 55,000 million euros for aid to the families, companies and sectors most affected by the crisis. The measures include the granting of a temporary permit to migrants engaged in agricultural and domestic care work. This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture.
It was one of the last places in the world to claim to be free of coronaviruses … until this week. Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa, has reported this Wednesday its first confirmed case of COVID-19, imported from the Middle East, a week after the country lifted its national closure. It was the only country that remained in the entire African continent without detecting infections. According to the WHO regional office in Africa, more than half of the countries have registered extensive community transmission. “The virus has greatly affected urban populations, and most rural communities have not been affected or have only reported sporadic cases,” they point out.
We say goodbye with an eye on Greece, because this week the authorities have detected during random tests the first two cases of COVID-19 among migrants and refugees that arrived on the island of Lesbos a week ago from the shores of Turkey. They were asymptomatic. Humanitarian organizations ask the Executive to prepare a comprehensive prevention plan to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic in one of the overcrowded fields. The other eye we have it in Bangladesh, which has also confirmed the first two positives in one of the southern refugee camps where more than a million Rohingya refugees live in very precarious conditions.
Municipal employees work on the street in central Moscow, Russia, May 14, 2020.
EFE / EPA / YURI KOCHETKOV