Despite unprecedented containment measures affecting more than three billion people worldwide, the new coronavirus has now infected more than half a million people worldwide.With more than 83,000 cases according to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has surpassed China, where the disease appeared in December, and Italy, which have more than 81,000 and 80,000 cases respectively, according to a count of AFP.
The epidemic is growing exponentially in the United States and the country, which had initially observed the spread of the virus from afar, may soon become the epicenter of the pandemic.
It is in New York, the economic capital known for its density, that the acceleration is strongest. The city alone has 281 deaths out of the 1,201 deaths recorded in the country. The American emergency number is saturated: “we did not have as many calls on September 11” 2001, said Anthony Almojeria, emergency medical services to AFP.
The situation was also worrying in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans where the Mardi Gras carnival on February 25, attended by several hundreds of thousands of people, could have been the trigger of the contagion, according to experts.
“Stay at home, relax,” Donald Trump asked the Americans at a daily press conference from the White House.
Thousands of billions
The new coronavirus has already killed more than 23,000 people worldwide, two thirds of them in Europe, where nearly 275,000 cases are officially diagnosed, according to a count made by AFP at 7:00 p.m. GMT.
Meeting at the summit Thursday by videoconference under the presidency of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the G20 leaders have promised to inject 5,000 billion dollars to support the global economy threatened by the pandemic.
In France, where the toll reaches nearly 1,700 deaths, the epidemic continues to worsen with 365 deaths recorded in the hospital in 24 hours including for the first time, a 16-year-old girl near Paris, according to the authorities. sanitary facilities.
“Although the situation remains very worrying, we are starting to see encouraging signs,” nevertheless said on Thursday the head of the European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge.
The increase in the number of cases in Italy, the hardest hit country in the world with more than 8,000 deaths, seems to be slowing down, “but it is still too early to say that the pandemic has reached its peak in this country,” he said. it temperate.
In Bergamo, the macabre procession of military trucks carried the coffins of the victims to other cities. The crematorium, overloaded, unable to meet the needs, the Lombard city was forced to send them to other localities.
Spain, which had become the second most affected country in the world the day before in front of China in number of deaths, crossed the barrier of 4,000 deaths on Thursday.
Interviewed by AFP, members of the Spanish medical staff spoke of the “immense loneliness” of the sick and their relatives, the sadness of the carers, and the fear that “the worst” was to come.
“I have five patients for one bed. I have to choose. People who could be saved are dying because they cannot be admitted to intensive care,” said Sara Chinchilla, 32, a doctor. in a hospital in Mostoles, near Madrid.
The United Kingdom meanwhile for the first time exceeded the mark of one hundred dead in one day related to the new coronavirus, which hits London in particular, confronted with a “tsunami” of seriously ill patients in its hospitals.
The consequence of unprecedented containment measures: the world is at a standstill and the economy is plummeting.
In the United States, requests for unemployment benefits have exploded by 1,000% the past week and reached an all-time high. President Donald Trump, who had bet heavily on the economy for his re-election in November, has proposed a gradual resumption of activity in parts of the country less affected by Covid-19.
In France, the national statistics institute estimates the loss of economic activity due to containment measures at 35%.
Targeted fiscal policies, economic measures and guarantee systems, the 5,000 billion injected by the G20 aim to “counter the social, economic and financial repercussions of the pandemic”, according to a press release from the institution.
Representing nearly two-thirds of the world’s population and three-quarters of the world’s GDP, the G20 has been criticized for its silence so far.
The American Central Bank, for its part, promised on Thursday to continue lending money “aggressively” to put the world’s first economy back on track, the day after the Senate voted on a plan to support the American economy. 2.200 billion dollars.
These announcements seemed to reassure the stock markets which confirmed their rebound on Thursday. The London, Paris and Wall Street stock markets ended up.
Africa, ill-equipped to face a large-scale health crisis, is also causing great concern with the appearance of the first cases in Mali or Libya, countries at war.
NGOs want to try to slow the spread of the virus in poor countries, and avoid a catastrophic scenario in those nations where the health systems are insufficient, plagued by war or a humanitarian crisis.
The UN also welcomed the announcement of a cease-fire by several armed groups to facilitate the fight against the pandemic.
Other countries have chosen to empty part of the prisons to avoid an explosion of cases: Afghanistan will release up to 10,000 prisoners in order to avoid transmission in isolated and “high risk” areas.
Mexican detainees were used to make up to 2,000 masks a day.
If the epidemic seems to be contained in China, the country has decided to close its borders to most foreigners from Saturday, business trips aside.
Beijing has lifted the restrictions imposed for months in the central province of Hubei, the cradle of the pandemic, except in the regional capital Wuhan.
The fear has not gone away, however, and the return to normalcy is still far away, as in Huanggang, one of the cities most affected by the epidemic, where activity is still slowing down.
Many warnings on the streets remind us that the virus has not disappeared. “Coming together to play cards is suicide,” warns a banner.
03/27/2020 00:50:11 –
Washington (AFP) –
© 2020 AFP