US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The health situation remains dramatic in Europe, where the 4,000 death mark was crossed on Thursday in Spain and where London hospitals are facing a “tsunami” of patients, but the WHO still sees “encouraging signs “of a slowdown in the spread of the new coronavirus on the continent.
Faced with the global crisis, a summit by videoconference on Thursday of the leaders of the 20 most industrialized countries on the planet will try to bring a coordinated response to the pandemic which, according to the UN, “threatens all of humanity”, despite unprecedented containment measures affecting more than three billion people.
The European Parliament is also devoting a special session to emergency measures against the coronavirus.
Public hospitals in London are facing a “continuing tsunami” of the seriously ill accompanied by an “unprecedented” proportion of personnel suffering from it, an official in the British public health system said on Thursday.
The Covid-19, which appeared in China in December and which killed around 20,600 people, “threatens all of humanity,” warned the UN chief.
With two thirds of deaths, Europe is paying the highest price at this stage. More than 250,000 cases of new coronaviruses have been officially diagnosed in Europe, including more than half in Italy (74,386) and Spain (56,188), according to a count made by AFP on Thursday at 12:00 GMT.
“Although the situation remains very worrying, we are starting to see encouraging signs,” nevertheless said Thursday the head of the Europe 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 7,500 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. he adds.
Spain, which had become the 2nd most affected country in the world the day before in front of China in number of deaths, crossed the threshold of 4,000 deaths on Thursday.
– “Worse than a war” –
In Vertova, a small village in northern Italy, the virus has killed more people than the Second World War. “It is absurd to see that in 2020 there could be a pandemic of this kind, worse than a war,” said the mayor, Orlando Gualdi.
“Unfortunately, there are no masks or disinfectants in the village,” said Augusta Magni, a 63-year-old resident.
Consequence of unprecedented containment measures now affecting more than a third of humanity: the world is at a standstill and the economy is sinking.
Experts expect an explosion in unemployment benefit claims in the United States, whose weekly figures are expected at 12:30 p.m. GMT.
In France, the national statistics institute estimates the loss of economic activity due to containment measures at 35%.
To imagine the parade, the G20, which represents almost two thirds of the world population and three quarters of the global GDP, will prepare “a global and coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications”, promised Saudi Arabia, who holds the rotating presidency of the institution.
This emergency meeting comes the day after the adoption by the United States Senate of a plan to support the American economy of 2,000 billion dollars in the United States, and the adoption in Germany of an arsenal of measures of 1.100 billion euros.
After two sessions of gains, the Tokyo Stock Exchange relapsed heavily Thursday, against a background of fear of an outbreak of the epidemic in the Japanese capital, whose residents are invited to avoid travel this weekend, but not confined.
London, Frankfurt and Paris, which had recovered hopes in the past two days, also opened lower, frightened by the spread of the epidemic, especially in the United States, the world’s largest economy.
It is where it progresses most rapidly, with nearly 68,572 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 1,000 deaths, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
– “Shortages” –
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.
President Donald Trump does not hide his impatience to return to normal, by Easter he hopes, to avoid a long recession.
A scenario that is becoming clearer in China, where the epidemic seems to be contained.
The drastic restrictions imposed for months in the central province of Hubei, the cradle of the pandemic, have been lifted – except in the regional capital Wuhan – causing traffic jams on the roads, and rushes on the trains and coaches.
But the fear has not disappeared 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 epidemic is not over. “Coming together to play cards is suicide,” warns a banner.
“Even if a lot of things are reopened, we still have to be careful,” explains, mask on the face Chen Wenjun, 22-year-old pharmacist, with two friends.
France, which counts more than 1,300 dead, is preparing for a “long effort”. It withdrew its troops from Iraq and put its soldiers on the war foot to respond to this health emergency.
The second most populous country in the world, India (officially 519 cases, including 10 fatal) confined in turn Wednesday its 1.3 billion inhabitants.
In Russia, all international flights will be suspended from Friday and next week will be idle, President Vladimir Putin having called on his fellow citizens to “stay at home”, without however ordering it.
However, the Moscow city hall announced the closure on Saturday of all non-essential businesses.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.