Monday, 26 October 2020

WHO warns Latin American hospitals risk being overwhelmed by Covid-19 crisis

Healthcare systems across Latin America risk being overwhelmed by the coronavirus, the World Health Organization has said, as the death toll from the disease in hard-hit Brazil nears 30,000.

(AFP) The warning from the global health body came as a sister UN agency issued new guidelines for pandemic-hit airlines that reveal what flying might look like when passenger planes take to the skies again in earnest.

A healthcare worker at a field hospital set up to treat patients suffering from the coronavirus disease in Guarulhos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, on May 12, 2020. © Amanda Perobelli, REUTERS

The march of the illness across the Americas comes as other parts of the world return to relative normality after weeks of restrictions on daily life that have wrecked economies and left millions jobless.

- Advertisement -

Schools, swimming pools, bars and tourist sites have begun to throw open their doors again in Europe as the continent continues easing lockdowns despite the threat of a second wave of infections.

The pandemic has now killed more than 377,000 people and infected at least 6.3 million since erupting in China in late 2019.

Four of the 10 countries across the globe with the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases on Monday were in Latin America, WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said.

Brazil, Peru, Chile and Mexico are suffering the highest daily increases but numbers are also on the rise in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Haiti.

“Countries are having to work very, very hard to both understand the scale of infection but also health systems are beginning to come under pressure,” said Ryan.

- Advertisement -

The region has logged one million cases and recorded more than 50,000 deaths, with Brazil accounting for more than half of those cases and close to 60 percent of the fatalities.

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro said Monday however that the popular tourist city would start gradually easing lockdown measures from Tuesday, beginning with the reopening of places of worship and water sports.

Mexico also began reopening on Monday, reactivating the automotive industry, mining and construction even as the country recorded more than virus 10,000 deaths.

Ryan warned that the region faces a tough battle in the weeks ahead.

“I don’t believe we have reached the peak in that transmission and, at this point, I cannot predict when we will,” he said.

‘Light at the end’

- Advertisement -

In Europe however, from Russia to France, Italy and Britain, countries have started to emerge from lockdowns, cautiously adopting a post-pandemic version of normal.

Bars began to serve again in Finland and Norway—with social distancing restrictions or shortened hours in place—while some schools in Britain and Greece opened their doors.

Britain reported 111 more virus deaths on Monday, the lowest daily toll since its lockdown started on March 23.

London’s Camden Market cautiously opened for the first time in 10 weeks, with stallholders excited to welcome customers.

“We are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mario Warner, owner of a nearby clothing store that has been given the green light to open in two weeks.

Greece opened some hotels, schools, pools and tattoo parlors, while Italy reopened the Colosseum, although only to Italians.

There was also good news from Spain, which on Monday recorded its first 24-hour period without a COVID-19 death since March 3.

France registered 31 deaths over the last 24 hours, and on Tuesday is set to reopen cafes, restaurants and bistros, closed since its lockdown began in mid-March.

Gatherings hit

Much of East Asia meanwhile has seen infection numbers slow to a trickle in recent weeks but mass gatherings continued to fall victim to virus restrictions.

Hong Kong’s annual candlelight vigil for those killed in China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown has been banned for the first time due to COVID-19 concerns.

And in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern criticized Black Lives Matter protesters for flouting social distancing rules when the country is on the verge of eliminating the virus.

With businesses and citizens growing tired of confinement, pressure is building on national leaders to end the lockdowns—especially in countries where outbreaks appear to be slowing.

Businesses have been under immense pressure as lockdowns keep consumers and employees at home, with the global airline industry among the hardest hit after tourism dried up.

As the sector seeks to forge a future amid the continued threat from the virus, the International Civil Aviation Organization on Monday released a “framework” for assuring the safety of passengers and workers.

Travelers should be forced to present health certificates at airports and undergo temperature checks, the ICAO said.

There were also snippets of inspiration however among the reams of bad news.

Hundreds of bands took their music to the streets of Lithuania to lift people’s spirits as the Baltic nation allowed public gatherings again.

About 400 bands performed 15-minute sets in cities and towns across the country in a government-sponsored initiative.

“Our orchestra is extremely happy to meet and make music again,” said Modestas Barkauskas, chief conductor of the Vilnius St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra in the capital Vilnius.

“We want to share our joy with you because music is medicine for the soul.”

- Advertisement -
Q Costa Rica
Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

Related Articles

PAHO: Costa Rica has the highest COVID-19 incidence rate in Central America

QCOSTARICA - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted this Wednesday...

WHO: The pandemic is “far from over”

QCOSTARICA - COVID-19 "is far from over," warned Maria Van Kerkhove,...

MOST READ

Legislator: “There is no prostitution anymore because there is no tourism”

QCOSTARICA - In the middle of the discussion about the project to revive trawling on Thursday, independent legislator Zoila Rosa Volio was very critical...

Panama obtains credit at 2.2%; Costa Rica however at 8.3%

QCOSTARICA - The realities of having bad credit. While the government of Panama got foreign investors to lend it US$1.25 billion in September at...

Disinfecting the “Concrete Box”

QCOSTARICA - Thursday afternoon, October 22, 2020, the Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly or Congress building - I call the "concrete box" became a superspreader...

Marchamo reduction enters crucial stage in Congress

QCOSTARICA - The race is for a reduction of the property tax of the annual circulation permit, the Marchamo, to be approved into law...

Costa Rica’s new Congress building becomes a ‘super spreader’

QCOSTARICA - After six and a half hours of discussion on the Legislative floor, Eduardo Cruickshank, chairman of the Legislative Assembly, suddenly stopped the...

Business Benefits of Cloud Services Explained

If you want to create an effective app for your business, you might need to decide where you want to host it in the...

Let's Keep This Going!

To be updated with all the latest news and information about Costa Rica and Latin America.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.