Half the world will spend the weekend confined and scared by the coronavirus pandemic


More than 3,000 million people enter a weekend of confinement this Saturday in a world confronted by the acceleration of the coronavirus pandemic which has caused more than 25,000 deaths and is fattening with Europe, especially with Italy and Spain.

In Italy, COVID-19 has killed almost 1,000 people (9,134) in 24 hours, a unprecedented figure for a single country since the beginning of the crisis.

However, the contagion continues to subside on the peninsula, which suggests that the drastic containment measures taken two weeks ago are paying off, although the peak has not yet been reached.

Follows Spain (more than 4,858), that according to the center of sanitary emergencies is beginning to approach “progressively to that peak (of cases) so longed for”.

The Pedro Sánchez government continues to multiply measures on the economic front, and prohibited employers from firing workers because of the pandemic. Instead, they must take advantage of temporary unemployment plans subsidized by the executive.

The country with the most infections is the United States (100,000).

This situation led President Donald Trump to order by decree the automaker General Motors to produce artificial respirators., which are sold out in hospitals and are vital for patients.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that “the global chronic shortage of personal protective equipment” for health personnel it represents an “imminent threat” in the fight against the disease.

Detection is also essential. A US lab released a portable test that can determine if someone has COVID-19 in five minutes.

In France, the government extended confinement for two weeks, until April 15.

The United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he was infected, but with mild symptoms, he prepares for a gigantic wave of patients in hospitals.

Russia, the last major country not to have taken measures of general confinement, decided to close the restaurants and most of the stores starting this Saturday before a holiday week.. In this way the authorities expect the Russians to stay at home even though they are not obliged to do so.

Ireland on the other hand enters this Saturday and until April 12 in confinement.

But it is far from easy worldwide. In central Johannesburg, South Africa, police lashed customers agglutinated on Friday in front of a supermarket.

In Muslim countries, it is difficult to prevent the faithful from going to the mosque. In Pakistan or Indonesia the Friday prayer had a large influx. “We do not believe in the coronavirus, we believe in Allah. Whatever happens, it comes from Allah”, Altaf Khan declared, before joining the crowd gathering for prayer in Islamabad.

A contrast to the image of Pope Francis, praying only on Friday in front of a completely deserted St. Peter’s Square.

And not all countries face the pandemic on equal terms.

With more than 3,300 cases and more than 90 deaths, according to a balance established by the AFPAfrica is relatively spared from the pandemic. But the spread of the virus follows a “dramatic evolution”, warned the WHO regional chief, Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti.

Latin America has more than 10,000 confirmed cases and 223 deaths, according to a balance of the AFP.

The countries with the most infections are Brazil, with 2,915, of which 77 died, Ecuador (1,403, 34) and Chile (1,610, 5). Argentina registers 589 cases and 17 deaths.

Off the coast of Panama, four passengers from the “Zaandam” cruise ship died from COVID-19 and the authorities hope that in the next few hours the first passengers will be evacuated from the country.

Latin American countries have reinforced measures with mandatory confinement orders in Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama or El Salvador and prolonged curfews in Chile, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala, in addition to almost general border closings.

Parallel, in this region with high poverty rates and several countries with internal crises, the authorities have activated economic aid plans.

Confinement also has a psychological impact by increasing depression, anxiety and other mental health problems, according to the Red Cross. “Even in conflict zones, we can hug when we are afraid. The terrible thing about this is the lack of physical contact,” said a manager.

“The hardest thing was the night, I couldn’t sleep, the anguish invaded the room. During the day, the doctors, the cleaning staff, those who distributed the food passed by. At night, nightmares came, death prowled”Said Fabio Biferali, a 65-year-old Roman cardiologist who spent eight days” isolated from the world “in an intensive care unit.

The health catastrophe is accompanied by another, the economic one. In the face of the looming disaster, the international community is trying to mobilize astronomical sums.

The G20 countries have promised to inject $ 5 trillion to support the world economy. The United States has adopted a more than $ 2 trillion plan to save its economy. Europe has promised in two weeks “strong measures”, a delay that disappoints and angers Spain and Italy.

“We will not overcome this crisis without strong European solidarity, at the health and budgetary level,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, who calls for a collective debt instrument, something that Germany opposes.

(With information from AFP)