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The virus advances in a world losing faith in authorities

July 25, 2020

This week, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, more than 280,000 new cases were registered worldwide in 24 hours, figures that force governments to intensify restrictions and that are also causing populations to lose their confidence in the management of the authorities.

Since July 1, more than 5 million infections have been registered, equivalent to a third of the total number of cases registered worldwide since it began last year in China. Overall, the coronavirus has killed nearly 640,000 people worldwide, according to an AFP count made Saturday from official figures.

Governments’ response to the health crisis has caused a progressive loss of confidence in authorities, said a study released Saturday.

“In many countries, support for governments is falling this month,” stresses a report by consulting firm Kekst CNC.

Citizens in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden and the United States think the numbers of deaths and infections are higher than the official ones, according to the survey.

The spike in Europe, which has exceeded 3 million infections and 207,000 deaths, prompted the World Health Organization to issue a warning on Friday.

“The recent resurgence of cases in some countries is really a concern,” a WHO Europe spokeswoman told AFP. “If the situation calls for it, it may be necessary to introduce stricter measures.”

In this context, the United Kingdom joined France, Germany and Austria in making the use of face masks mandatory in public places and to carry out further diagnostic tests.

The outbreaks in various parts of Spain made countries such as France and Norway reimpose restrictions on travel to the peninsula.

France also decided Friday to demand mandatory diagnostic tests from travelers from 16 countries, including the United States and Brazil, the two most affected in the world, and Peru, which has the second-highest number of infections in Latin America.

Asia is also a source of concern as new sources of contagion are emerging. South Korea on Saturday reported its highest number of cases in nearly four months, and Vietnam detected the first contagion by local transmission in 100 days.

The United States has announced at least 145,546 deaths and more than 4 million infections — 70,000 of them registered on Friday. President Donald Trump, who for months minimized the pandemic, admitted the health situation is “worrying.”

In Latin America and the Caribbean, where there are already more than 4 million cases and 179,692 deaths, some light is appearing at the end of the tunnel in Chile.

With 338,759 cases and almost 9,000 deaths, an improvement in the number of infections led authorities to announce relaxed measures in some parts of Santiago starting next week, where a quarantine has existed since March.

In Argentina (153,507 infections and more than 2,800 deaths), clinical trials will begin next week in patients using a hyperimmune solution based on horse serum, a potential drug against COVID-19, the biotech company Inmunova said in a statement.

The coronavirus continues to plague Brazil, the most affected Latin American country, with 2,343,366 infections and 85,238 deaths.

But for its president, Jair Bolsonaro, the pandemic does not seem to be taking a political toll despite his controversial management. The popularity of the president, who is also infected by the coronavirus and remains isolated in his residence, has rebounded in the polls, according to three surveys published this week.

All over the world events and festivities continue to be canceled due to the health crisis. On Friday, for example, Sao Paulo announced that it was giving up its 2021 Carnival.

Panama declined to co-host the U-20 women’s soccer World Cup and the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games, saying the events require expenses the country prefers to spend on issues related to public health.

However, on Saturday soccer did return in China. The local championship resumed with a minute of silence in tribute to the victims of the pandemic.

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