Closing of beaches and nightclubs, mandatory masks, prohibition of mass gatherings: Restrictions tighten in several countries as fears grow of a second wave of the pandemic of Covid-19 and cases increase in Europe and Asia to levels of the first outbreak.
The figures do not stop growing. Since it appeared in China in December, the disease already leaves more than 805,000 dead and has infected some 23.2 million people, according to an AFP balance from official sources.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the most afflicted region, with more than 258,000 deaths and some 6.7 million infections.
In Europe, summer vacation returns are a source of contagion in countries such as Italy, Spain, France and Germany, at a time when the region is preparing for the start of the new school year.
“We are in a situation of risk”, the pandemic “has never stopped”, said French Health Minister Olivier Véran in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche.
Even South Korea, which was considered an example in the fight against the pandemic, registered the highest number of daily cases in the last 24 hours (397) since the beginning of March.
Faced with this upsurge, the authorities extended the restrictions already in force in the capital from this Sunday to its entire territory, from closed-door sports matches to the closure of museums.
“The situation is very serious and serious and we are on the verge of a pandemic at the national level,” said the head of the South Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), Jung Eun-kyeong.
More than half of the deaths from Covid-19 on the planet were registered in four countries: The United States with about 180,000 deaths, Brazil (about 115,000), Mexico (more than 60,000) and India.
India, the second most populous nation on the planet after China, surpassed the barrier of three million cases this Sunday, by reporting 69,239 new infections. It added 912 deaths for a total of 56,706 deaths, according to official data.
The water boils again
For the authorities It is not being easy to control the comings and goings of vacationers to the beachs, and social gatherings, especially in young people.
In Peru, 13 people were asphyxiated when police raided a nightclub in Lima where 120 people were participating in a party on Saturday night, at the beginning of the Sunday curfew due to the pandemic.
With 27,453 dead, Peru, which prohibited social gatherings, is the third country in Latin America in deaths by the pandemic after Brazil and Mexico.
One of the European countries hardest hit by the virus, Italy, with more than 35,000 deaths, exceeded 1,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, many of them in Rome and largely from vacation travel.
For five days, in Italy the closure of nightclubs was ordered and the mask was imposed on the streets, which is also mandatory in cities in France, and for days in large sectors of Paris, with an average of about 4,000 new cases daily.
Too in Germany, infections increased in recent days (more than 2,000 daily), due to the massive return of Germans who spent holidays in risk areas abroad.
In Ireland, the authorities restricted gatherings to a maximum of six people indoors. And in the UK and Spain, the authorities have once again confined several areas.
“The risk is that, after gently removing the lid of the pot, the water will boil again,” insisted the French minister.
France imposed the “systematic” use of the mask in classrooms in early September. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended its use for “children 12 years and older in the same conditions as adults.”
“He did not know how to carry the pandemic”
As the pandemic continues to spread, shortages in hospitals, the exhaustion and low salaries of medical personnel, and the lack of assistance for the poorest populations continue to provoke unrest and protests.
In Guatemala, dozens protested Saturday to demand the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei. “She did not know how to manage the pandemic (…) she is not knowing how to lead the government; the most dignified thing is that she resigns,” Gabriela Morales told AFP in front of the National Palace.
Israeli police announced on Sunday that they had detained 30 people, following a demonstration in which thousands of people demanded the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with slogans such as “minister of crime.” They accuse him of corruption and of having mismanaged the economic impact of the pandemic.
But, with the brutal impact of the virus on the economy, many countries have chosen to resume activities even as the disease continues to spread. El Salvador, for example, will reopen shopping malls, restaurants and resume public transportation on Monday.