The cases of contamination by the coronavirus blazed Sunday in Europe, in particular in Italy where the situation turns to “tragedy”. A second wave seemed to reach Asia, as eyes are turned to Africa.
“Stay at home”, “close everything”: the slogans to avoid gatherings and contacts favoring the epidemic are spreading all over the world.
From Wuhan in China, where the epidemic started, in New York, more than 900 million people must stay at home to avoid contracting the virus. The latter has already infected more than 320,000 people worldwide, half of them in Europe. More than 14,000 lost their lives, including more than 8,600 on the Old Continent.
Nearly 5,500 dead in Italy
The most affected country with nearly 5,500 deaths (5,476), Italy is experiencing a scenario feared by all the others, with in some regions a contagion that seems out of control and a saturation of healthcare capacities.
The country has registered 651 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to figures released Sunday by civil protection. This figure is lower than that announced on Saturday (793, a record), but it is the second heaviest assessment since the start of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced in this context the cessation of “any production activity in the territory which would not be strictly necessary”.
Field hospital in Madrid
The second most affected country in Europe, Spain recorded nearly 400 new deaths in 24 hours (+ 30%), bringing the total to 1,720. A huge field hospital was put into operation in Madrid, while the government requested an extension of confinement until April 11.
In France, where the death toll jumped from 112 in 24 hours to 674, the government is preparing people to extend the confinement. Germany (55 deaths) for its part bans gatherings of more than two people. Greece will be in general confinement on Monday. Since Thursday, the death toll has doubled to 15 on Sunday.
In Britain, change of tone: “the numbers (…) are accelerating. We are only a few weeks from Italy,” warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday. The government ordered before the weekend the closure of schools, pubs, cinemas and sports halls, but no general confinement.
A hundred more dead in the USA
In the United States, where about 30% of the population is placed in confinement, the pandemic has killed more than 100 people in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 389 dead Sunday, according to a count of Johns Hopkins University which makes reference.
The states of New York (114 dead), Washington (94 dead) and California (28 dead) are the hotbeds of the epidemic.
And Latin America in turn resolves to containment: after Venezuela, Argentina and El Salvador, Bolivia followed on Sunday, while Chile decreed a night curfew.
In Brazil, the country most affected by the region (1,128 cases, including 18 deaths), although far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has constantly played down the epidemic, the governors of the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have taken the initiative in restrictive measures.
Relapse in Asia?
The concern also goes back to Asia, where the number of cases has exceeded 95,000. China reported 46 new infections on Sunday. Formally “imported” cases, of course, for 45 of them, but this shows that the cradle of the epidemic is not immune to a relapse.
In Thailand, which identified 188 new cases on Sunday, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic, voices are rising to demand a total containment of Bangkok.
Millions of Indians were subjected to an experimental curfew on Sunday in this country of 1.3 billion inhabitants where 320 cases have been identified, a figure which would be largely underestimated.
Although hard hit with nearly 1,700 deaths, according to official figures increasingly openly questioned, Iran is slow to contain its population.
His Iraqi neighbor, however, announced Sunday the establishment of a total curfew in the 18 provinces of the country with a devastated health system, after the death of 20 people and while the number of infections continues to climb.
Concerns are also mounting over Africa. “Let us be responsible. We are all going to die and then go to hell!” Said Zimbabwean government spokesman Nick Mangwana. In question, the affluence in the churches of Harare, this Sunday, despite the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.
Police in Lagos, a sprawling city of 20 million people, were also trying to prevent worshipers from going to churches, usually crowded in Nigeria.
The time bomb is also economical: to support its economy whose entire sectors are at a standstill, the United States is preparing to authorize the central bank to lend directly to businesses. And this for an unprecedented amount: 4000 billion dollars, or one fifth of the annual wealth produced by the American economy.