This week we have attended what will undoubtedly be one of the milestones of the COVID-19 pandemic: the United States has exceeded 100,000 deaths, the first country to do so. From South Korea we get some signs of how the de-escalation process can be, with new outbreaks that generate concern and force us to re-impose some restrictions. In Japan they have decided to lift the state of emergency after managing, for the moment, to contain the infections. Daily cases in India are on the rise, also in the Philippines, which will relax one of the world’s longest confinements in its capital.
A worker in Peru.
We summarize the highlights of the week:
March 29, 2020. Few people cross a normally busy intersection after the Tokyo metropolitan government asked residents to stay home from the coronavirus.
Viola Kam / SOPA via ZUMA Wire / dpa
It has been the first country in the world to overcome this sad mark and continues at the top of the table. Four months after the first contagion officially registered in the United States, more than 100,000 people have died with the virus in the country, of. With much to analyze about the US response to COVID-19, the pandemic has already left some lessons: the profound social fractures of the country have been decisive in their inability to face the disease. We refer to racism, poverty or political polarization. The pandemic continues to take its toll on the labor market of the world’s first economy: one in four workers have lost their jobs since March and are already more than 38.6 million people who have applied for unemployment benefits.
EFE / EPA / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT / Archive
The rate of growth of cases in the United States has begun to slow, but the policies of lack of confidence fed by the almost carefree speech of the White House make us fear the worst. The focus of the pandemic is currently the entire American continent. The US is concerned, but also concerned Brazil, which is already the second country with the most detected infections in the world, around 440,000.
Worries Peru, who this week has broken his record of new cases in 24 hours and worries Chile, where the transmission is accelerated while the Government of Sebastián Piñera, who for weeks resisted to impose a general confinement, has recognized that the health system is “very close to the limit”. There is also concern that the rate of infection will accelerate Central America and the increase in cases in the impoverished neighborhoods of Argentina. But, in addition to the virus itself, there is concern about the poverty that can cross millions of other people. The World Food Program has already warned of a “hunger pandemic” in Latin America.
And from America to Asia, because India It is one of the countries in which we are observing a faster rise in infections in recent days. This week, the country has already approached 170,000 accumulated cases. In Mumbai, one of the great focuses,The Guardian describes scenes of hospitals on the verge of collapse, with patients sharing beds and oxygen tanks: “The magnitude of the cases is overwhelming us all.” The Government has begun to relax some restrictions since the beginning of May, but it has extended the confinement on four occasions, the last one until this Sunday, May 31. After two months of hiatus, some national flights were resumed on Monday, but the day was marked by local restrictions, cancellations and passenger anger, EFE reports.
Don’t miss this news of Reuters. A group of monkeys He has attacked a laboratory technician in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and had blood samples taken from patients who had tested positive for coronavirus. Monkeys are increasingly drifting towards human settlements in India, causing some disturbances. According to ecologists, the animals move to urban areas in search of food due to the destruction of the natural habitat. This week we also told you that American rats are becoming more aggressive in the absence of food waste due to confinement. One of many consequences of stopping life as we know it.
Manila, the capital of Philippines, has completed this Friday 76 days of strict quarantine, the same as the Chinese city of Wuhan was confined. Starting on Monday, the city of 12 million inhabitants will begin its de-escalation allowing meetings of up to 10 people and free movement provided that a mask is used and distances are respected. The restrictions have affected millions of workers and the economy faces its deepest contraction in 34 years. The Philippines experienced its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday, but President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to ease confinement. Another worrying fact from there: the cases of online child sexual abuse have tripled under the confinement and activists warn that the closure has exposed the most vulnerable children to human trafficking and family members with problems living.
Japan It has also decided this week to lift the state of emergency. After resorting to a different European-style version of confinement, the country appears to have contained the outbreak, a success largely attributed to the behavior of Japanese citizens, but experts once again warn of the danger of complacency. Next Monday, Tokyo will enter a new phase with fewer restrictions. However, the Japanese authorities are concerned about a possible rebound and are closely following two recent outbreaks
We are very aware of South Korea They are also closely and uneasily watching the worst rebound in cases since early April, which has been recorded this week, most linked to a logistics center. In fact, the Asian country, praised worldwide for its response to the virus, has been forced to re-impose restrictions on Seoul after easing them a few weeks ago. Museums and parks have been closed again for 14 days and the authorities ask the population to gather for what is essential, while warning: “If this outbreak continues to grow we will have to return to the phase of social distancing.”
The WHO has used the case of South Korea as an example to illustrate to other countries that lifting the restrictions is “complex and difficult”, so it is necessary for the authorities to remain vigilant. Now that everyone is talking about the possibility of a second wave of cases, the organization has recalled that the world is still experiencing its first wave of infections and there may be a “second peak” in this wave. “It can jump at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is going down now it is going to keep going down, and then we are going to have several months to prepare for a second wave.”
In South Korea, part of the concern is in the schools, which have been undergoing a reopening process for two weeks. More than 200 centers have been forced to close just a few days after opening their doors again, according to the BBC, which told us on Monday what some of the temperature controls are like before entering class: there are no hugs, but a row with a meter of separation, disinfecting gel and a sensor so sensitive that the alarm is activated when it detects a thermos in a student’s bag.
“Good morning everyone, how about the weekend?” In an empty classroom, the teacher stares at his laptop camera and projects his voice so that his students can hear him well. “We are going to roll call,” says the academic, who teaches literature at one of the main universities in South Korea, says this EFE report. Remember: activate the microphone to say ‘present’ or just write it in the chat. We start: Lee So-young? … “,” Present “, exclaims the student from home. “Soh Su-min? …”.
We keep talking about education because in United Kingdom They are preparing to open some schools starting next Monday in England with controversy, because the decision has caused unrest among teachers and parents associations, and there are experts warning of the risks. Schools look for ways to minimize the chance of contagion for students and staff. While in Italy, students will have to wait until September to return to the classrooms. At the moment, a debate has erupted in the country about whether or not to celebrate the last day of “school” so that children can say goodbye. On the one hand, those who reject him due to the difficulties of keeping his distance. On the other, those who defend its “symbolic value” and even more after a hard course.
In the United Kingdom they continue with the lack of confinement and from next week the meetings of up to six people who do not share domiciles in public parks or private gardens will be authorized, provided they are kept two meters apart. Social gatherings have also been discussed this week in Germany, which will extend until June 29 the social distancing measures in force in the country since mid-March. The federal government and regional powers have agreed, as a general rule, to maintain the limitation of personal contacts, although group outings or meetings of a maximum of ten people will be authorized, expandable to more for members of two households.
Next week we will also continue to witness de-escalation measures in France. From next Tuesday, June 2, the reopening of bars, cafes and restaurants will be allowed, with restrictions and precautionary measures.
We take one last look at South Africa, One of the African countries that has taken measures to address the spread of the virus and also the one that has registered the most cases on the continent, just over 27,000. The difficulties are now in being able to increase the number of tests. Authorities say they have nearly 100,000 raw samples due to the difficulty of obtaining essential supplies, something they say is a reflection of the global shortage. “This problem is caused by the limited availability of test kits worldwide,” they have said.
A worker in Peru.