South America became the “new epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the WHO, especially Brazil, where the deaths per day reach record levels, while Europe tries to return to normal life and China, the cradle of the disease, claims victory .

The Asian country, where the virus broke out in December and which Washington accuses of being responsible for a “global mass slaughter”, proclaimed on Friday its “great success” in the fight against evil.

“We have made important strategic achievements in our response to covid-19,” Prime Minister Li Keqiang told the 3,000 mask-wearing delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Far from Chinese triumphalism, South America is increasingly concerned. The region has become “a new epicenter of the disease,” said Michael Ryan, the person in charge of emergency situations of the World Health Organization (WHO), by teleconference from Geneva.

“We see the number of cases increase in numerous South American countries. There is a lot of concern around those countries, but clearly the most affected at the moment is Brazil.”

The South American giant exceeded 21,000 deaths from coronavirus after registering 1,001 deaths in 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The country is the second in number of affected in the world, with 330,890 cases, behind the United States. And the number of infections could be up to 15 times higher due to the difficulty of having accurate statistics due to the lack of tests, according to analysts.

– Amazon worrying –

According to Michael Ryan, in relative terms the highest rates are found in the Amazon, with about 450 infected people for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Brazil is also experiencing days of strong political confusion, due to disagreements between the majority of the governors, in favor of confinement measures, and the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who criticizes them due to their economic impact.

And the broadcast of the video of a ministerial meeting in which Bolsonaro describes the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, as “bosta”, and that of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Wietzel, as “manure”, removes the possibility of a greater understanding between the president and the states.

Throughout Latin America, more than 37,000 people have died and about 675,000 covid-19 infections have been registered.

In Peru, the second country in the region in number of infections and the third in deaths, the government extended mandatory confinement until June 30, although it reduced the night curfew in Lima and in central and central regions by one hour. south.

Another of the most affected countries, Ecuador, exceeded 3,000 deaths and the authorities suspect that another 1,892 deaths were probably due to covid-19.

– Protests in Chile –

In Guatemala, a total curfew began until Monday to try to control the epidemic, at a time when infections have exploded.

After a sharp increase in cases and deaths this week in Chile, many inhabitants have breached confinement in recent days to demonstrate and claim food aid, after the quarantine imposed by the government triggered unemployment and hunger in neighborhoods. poorer.

In one of these protests, held this Friday in Cerrillos, a disadvantaged neighborhood in Santiago, a police officer was wounded by gunfire during clashes with a group of protesters.

A notable exception in the Southern Cone, Uruguay, with only about twenty deaths, announced that it will restart in-person classes at all educational levels in June.

– “Essential” places of worship –

In the United States, President Donald Trump called on state governors to allow the immediate reopening of places of worship, which he called “essential places.”

The 50 states of the union have undertaken a partial and progressive lack of control, maintaining some restrictions on the meetings to stop the spread of the virus, which has left more than 95,000 deaths in the country.

In tribute to the deceased, the flags will be flown at half-staff until Sunday across the country.

In the face of the severe economic crisis caused by the confinement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that new support funds will be needed within a few weeks. The administration and Congress have already mobilized nearly three trillion dollars since March.

– Bankruptcies and dismissals in France –

In Europe, where more than 171,000 people died, slow normalization is being imposed, but with numerous precautionary measures.

Countries like France, Italy or Spain have started their way out of confinement.

After two months of confinement, the Italians gradually recover their freedom. But, unsatisfied with the aid allocated and irritated by the unclear directives, many merchants refuse to open their stores in Italy despite the government’s call to revive the sector.

“Even if it were open I would not work, because there are no customers, no tourists. Italians in general do not want to go to the restaurant for now,” Pietro Lepore, owner of Bar Harry in the heart of Rome, told ..

France’s economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, warned that the French should prepare for the “bankruptcies and layoffs” that the health crisis will provoke in the coming months. France announced that the second round of municipal elections that had been delayed by the epidemic will take place on June 28.

In Spain with strict capacity restrictions, Madrid and Barcelona will be able to reopen terraces of bars, museums and hotels from Monday, as half the country already did two weeks ago.

Russia recorded its highest daily death toll, 150 in the past 24 hours, and the government warned it expects a “significant” death toll in May. The country already has more than 317,000 cases and 3,099 deaths, according to official figures. GDP is expected to contract 9.5% in the second quarter, according to estimates released Thursday.

burx-plh / ltl / rsr / gma / yow