COVID-19: more deaths in Spain than in China; “All of humanity” threatened
The spread of the COVID-19 disease, which has now killed more in Spain than in China, “threatens all of humanity,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday.
More than three billion people, more than a third of humanity (evaluated by the UN at 7.8 billion people in 2020), are now called to remain confined, according to an AFP count.
A compulsory measure in the vast majority of cases, with serious economic and social consequences.
Faced with the threat of the coronavirus, “all of humanity must respond. Global action and solidarity are crucial, “said Guterres when he launched a” global humanitarian response plan “on Wednesday to help the poorest countries.
For their part, the IMF and the World Bank have called on bilateral creditors to freeze the debt payments of the least favored nations.
The new coronavirus has already killed more than 20,000 people worldwide, including more than 13,000 in Europe.
It is “worse than a war,” says Orlando Gualdi, mayor of Vertova, a village in northern Italy where the virus killed more people than the Second World War.
If new cases continue to stagnate, Italy remains the most affected country in the world with 7503 deaths. It is now followed by Spain, where the total number of deaths – 3,434 – exceeded Wednesday that in China (3,281), the cradle of the epidemic.
As in the other most affected European countries, Spanish hospitals are on the verge of collapse, medical personnel exhausted and exposed to contagion for lack of suitable equipment.
Spain will therefore buy 432 million dollars in sanitary equipment – masks, gloves, respirators, tests … – from China, where the disease has slowed its progression very considerably.
“Many colleagues are crying because people are dying alone, without having seen their families, and we barely have time to keep them company,” said Guillen del Barrio, a nurse at a saturated hospital in Madrid.
France is going to set up an “air bridge” with China, to bring in the millions of protective masks which it also lacks.
Second most populous country in the world behind China, India (officially 519 cases, including 10 fatal) confined in turn Wednesday its 1.3 billion inhabitants.
In the empty streets of New Delhi, the chirping of birds has replaced the usual cacophony of horns and shouts. In Bombay, Rafiq Ansari, a vegetable merchant, is worried about future “shortages” because it is “more and more difficult to get supplies”.
Colombia also ordered its 48 million residents to remain confined as of Wednesday. And Iran, one of the countries most affected with 2077 deaths, is preparing to ban traffic between cities across the country by Friday.
In Saudi Arabia, Ryad and the two holy cities of Medina and Mecca are now under quarantine and the curfew already in force has been extended.
Next week will be idle in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has called on his fellow citizens to “stay at home”, without ordering it. He also postponed a popular vote scheduled for April on a constitutional reform.
Russia, where no deaths directly linked to the coronavirus have been officially confirmed, announced Wednesday that two infected patients had died, without specifying the exact cause of their death.
In Britain, confined since Tuesday, more than 400,000 people have volunteered, at the call of the government, to help the most vulnerable.
But confinement is often complicated to implement. As in the most important migrant camp in Europe, in Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos, which looks like a “health bomb”.
“We were told not to leave our tents and not to gather, but it is impossible in Moria,” says a Somali migrant, Ibrahim Mohament Hussein.
Conversely, in China, where new local contamination has been almost zero in recent days, the drastic restrictions imposed for months in Hubei province, epicenter of the pandemic, were lifted on Wednesday, except in the regional capital Wuhan, causing congestion and a rush on trains and coaches.