Latin America exhales in the fight against Covid-19

If the Covid-19 pandemic in Asia and Europe is under control, it continues its development and ravages in Latin America, which the WHO describes as a “new epicenter”. France 24 provides an overview of the situation in these countries seeking balance, between health measures and the need to revive the economy.

According to the WHO, it is “the new epicenter” of the Covid-19 pandemic. The American continent is now the most affected in the world. While Europe is on the path to slow normalization and closure, Latin America records an uneventful development of the pandemic, with dreadful predictable consequences in terms of economy and employment.

“South America has become a new epicenter of the disease. We see the number of cases increasing in many South American countries,” WHO emergency recipient Michael Ryan said during a Geneva virtual conference.

According to WHO, Latin America is now the “epicenter” of the Covid-19 pandemic. © FMM Graphic Studio

Brazil, Mexico and Peru live in worrying situations and concentrate the majority of deaths in Latin America. Chile, meanwhile, is about to burst, according to its president, while Ecuador and especially the city of Guayaquil are slowly recovering.

France 24 provides a non-exhaustive overview of the various situations.

• In Brazil, populism and the pandemic go hand in hand

Brazil, with its 210 million inhabitants, is today the second most affected country in the world, behind the US, in the number of confirmed cases. However, the number of infections and deaths may be higher, as the country has been slow to set up screening tests.

And for good reason, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has in any way minimized the epidemic since the beginning of the crisis. With his followers, he condemned the “dictatorship of the corona virus” and put its effects into perspective. During a meeting in the capital, Brasilia, he did not hesitate on Sunday to take a walk by falling off the mask, clasping his hands and even carrying a child on his shoulders.

To protect the population, the local authorities adopted containment measures against the president’s advice.

• In Mexico, too fast deconfection?

Mexico is the second most deprived country in Latin America with more than 6,000 deaths linked to Covid-19. President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, however, is already thinking about closing and declaring at a press conference that “the pandemic has been thwarted”, allowing “return to a new normal”.

If he believes that a “healthy distance” between everyone must be maintained, his government has started working on deconfinance. Depending on a four-color code, depending on the intensity of the circulation of the virus, he wants to revive economic activity as quickly as possible. This is particularly undermined by the closure of the border with the United States, a trading partner whose Aztec country is highly dependent.

For Guillermo Torre, Rector of the Faculty of Medicine at Tec University in Monterrey, interviewed by Le Monde, “The social distance campaign has made it possible to smooth the epidemiological curve to saturate hospitals less. But his eagerness (the president’s, editor’s note) to deconstruct risks that provoke a second wave of contagions”, especially as the number of cases would be greatly underestimated in the country.

• Peru is struggling

On March 16, when almost 86 cases were officially listed, Peru was the first country in Latin America to adopt restrictive measures to try to contain the epidemic. However, nine weeks of containment later, the figures for pollution explode. Peru is now the second most affected country in Latin America, after Brazil, and the third largest number of deaths, after Brazil and Mexico.

A spread, despite the containment, which is explained by several factors. The first is the fragility of the Peruvian health system. About 7,500 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Peru. However, due to the lack of protective equipment or non-compliance with health safety protocols, the virus has spread to healthcare professionals. At least 635 doctors and 1,200 nurses suffered from the disease and 33 caregivers died.

In addition, markets and banks functioned as distribution vectors. By ordering containment, the government maintained important economic activities, including the sale of food in the markets. The latter became dirty contaminants until the government responded by turning them off. The same problem with the banks, where the Peruvians were crowded in mass to withdraw coupons for relief.

The increase in pollution is also explained by the importance of the informal sector, which represents 70% of the country’s operations. Thousands of people have defied containment orders to feed their families.

Onchile, dsaturated hospitals

In the past two weeks, Chile has experienced a very significant increase in pollution, which has prompted the government to order mandatory prison for the capital’s seven million inhabitants.

President Sebastian Piñera was an alarmist when he judged that the national health system was saturated and “very close to the borders”. In Santiago, the occupancy rate for beds in intensive care is close to 95%.

But the pandemic is not the only problem facing Chile. Unemployment and hunger exploded in the poorest neighborhoods. In mid-May, Santiago residents defied mandatory containment to demonstrate.

In response, the Chilean government has begun distributing 2.5 million food baskets to the poorest families. These dividends, the cost of which is estimated at $ 100 million, must be made throughout Chile to residents who have lost their jobs due to the health crisis. But the situation remains explosive because of a social context already tense before the epidemic.

• In Venezuela, an “enclosed” epidemic?

According to the President, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has managed to “contain” the spread of the corona virus. The Venezuelan government has registered ten deaths linked to Covid-19 for 455 cases detected.

If the heir of Chavismo is proud of these figures, his main opponent, the self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido, disputes them. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, also publicly criticized the “lack of Venezuelan transparency”. However, WHO and John Hopkins University accept the government’s figures in their statistics.

Nicolas Maduro has extended the inclusion of 30 million Venezuelans by one month. A decision that has less to do with health reasons than with fuel shortages that undermines an unlikely economic recovery, say experts in the region interviewed by AFP.

But this restriction is now respected to a small extent, especially in Caracas, where the population is trying to return to work to survive an economic situation that has already worsened before the pandemic.

• Ecuador: the firstCountrymeet slowly rising

Since the first coronavirus discovery in the country, on February 29, Ecuador has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic. More than 3,000 people died and the images of corpses in homes and on the streets shocked the world.

The city of Guayaquil quickly became the epicenter of the pandemic in the country, resulting in the collapse of its health and funeral system.

To limit the progression of the disease, Ecuador declared an emergency in mid-March, discontinued training facilities in training facilities and works in the company. A 15 hour curfew per day was also introduced.

However, Guayaquil seems to catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. After nine weeks in prison, the city has begun the closing phase with the resumption of certain activities.

• Argentina, ColombiaandUruguay remains cautious

This trio country seems to be ready for the Covid-19 pandemic at the moment. However, they prefer to be cautious, as is Argentina, where population containment is extended to June 7. In Colombia, it is extended at least until May 31, while the health condition must last until August 31.

In Uruguay, according to the Scientific Committee which gives advice to the government, the pandemic is under “relative control”. This small country with 3.5 million inhabitants has registered less than 1,000 cases and only twenty deaths.