Special program: Covid-19, a Latin American pandemic, reports from the South American continent

While Latin America is the new episode of the pandemic, we invite you to travel the continent through reports from our correspondents. From Mexico to Argentina, including Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Cuba, how do governments handle the health crisis? These countries, although their neighbors, have used different strategies. While some flee from the Covid-19 wave at the moment, others record record deaths … and everyone experiences an alarming financial situation, with informal employment often the norm.

– In Argentina, until recently, the coronavirus infectious curve was almost flat. The result of strict quarantine measures taken upstream of the pandemic level and well respected by the population. But in the poorest areas of the capital, Buenos Aires and its suburbs, the situation is deteriorating and cases are now multiplying at an alarming rate. Thirty kilometers from the capital, the small shanty town of Villa Azul has recently been classified as an “infection center”. The government’s reaction was draconian: the entire district of 3000 inhabitants was placed in total isolation. Report by Mathilde Guillaume and Mariano Toledo.

In Mexico, a thick layer of pollution covers the capital, Mexico City, a pool surrounded by mountains and populated by 23 million inhabitants. However, in the major cities of the countries affected by Covid-19, the drastic reduction in human activity has led to a significant improvement in air quality. Report in Mexico by Laurence Cuvillier and Matthieu Comin.

– In Colombia, red cloths hanging on the facades of the houses have become the symbol of the financial distress created by the health crisis. The containment, which began in late March when the first cases of coronavirus were reported on the continent – and which should last at least until July 1 – are dramatic for many Colombians, deprived of work and therefore of income. The red cloths first appeared in Soacha, a city in the southern suburbs of the capital, Bogota, where the mayor had asked residents who could not support themselves to report themselves with a piece of red cloth. Little by little, the red rags spread throughout the metropolis, then throughout Colombia … While the pandemic is still far from being reached, it is often thanks to solidarity that the most vulnerable manage to survive. Report by Pascale Mariani and Simone Bruno.

– In Peru also, A country that was very affected by the pandemic, people generally respected the containment, decided on March 15. But after two and a half months, many informal workers, struggling to survive, begin to leave again as the country’s economy has stalled. Amanda Chaparro reports.

>> To read: “Maria Antonieta Alva, the young Minister of Economy in Peru,” heroine “in the fight against Covid-19”

– In Cuba, the authorities stand out for their mobilization against Covid-19, both on the island and internationally. In the country, which has the highest number of doctors per inhabitant, the government has focused on preventing and isolating suspected cases. The health care staff goes door to door to identify the sick. A successful strategy: Cuba has so far suffered few victims and since March brigades of medical personnel have been sent to the countries most affected in support of local medical teams. Testimony collected by Pascale Mariani and Simone Bruno.

>> To read: “Against Covid-19, Cuba fights on all fronts”

– Finally, in Brazil, the health crisis is exacerbating social and political tensions, and supporters of populist president Jair Bolsonaro are quick to rally across the country, ignoring any social distance. Fanny Lorraine’s correspondence.

>> Watch our special program: “Brazil, the episode of Covid-19 in Latin America”