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The pandemic resurfaces in Europe and will multiply the number of poor in the world

The new wave of outbreaks of the coronavirus is advancing in a worrying way in Europe and requires new restrictions against an uncontrollable pandemic, which does not give way in Latin America and can plunge 100 million people into extreme poverty in the world.

Since the disease appeared in China last December, it has caused at least 793,847 deaths in the world and infected some 22.7 million people, according to a balance established by AFP this Friday from official sources.

Almost a third of the death toll is suffered by Latin America (252,233 deaths), where the pandemic is accentuating poverty and already marked inequality, threatening to erase a decade of slow social progress.

Thousands of families have faced the dilemma of filling their stomachs or being safe from contagion. At worst, they have been unable to avoid hunger and disease.

“Because of this pandemic I was unemployed. There are days when we even skip a meal because the situation is difficult, ”says Milena Maia in the Heliópolis favela, one of the largest in Sao Paulo.

After the United States (174,290 deaths with 5,575,386 infections), the countries with the most fatalities in the world are Brazil with 112,304, Mexico (59,106), India (54,849 deaths) and the United Kingdom (41,403 deaths).

Latin America represents 9% of the world’s population and has registered 40% of global deaths in the last two months.

This “gives us an idea of ​​the great impact it has had,” Luis Felipe López-Calva, director for Latin America of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), told AFP, who foresees a setback “of up to 10 years in multidimensional poverty levels ”, given the lack of effective policies.

Only in the region, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the pandemic will plunge 45 million people into poverty, bringing the total to 231 million, 37.3% of the Latin American population .

And worldwide it can push 100 million people into extreme poverty, more than previously estimated, World Bank President David Malpass told AFP.

– “Things are not going well” –

In Europe, the figures of new cases of infection in 24 hours published on Thursday in France, Italy, Germany or Spain are worrying and show a rebound in the pandemic, in large part due to travel during the summer holidays.

In Spain, 7,039 new cases were registered in 24 hours on Thursday. In France, 4,771, an unprecedented increase since May. In Italy, 845 infections, while in Germany 1,707 new infections were detected.

“Things are not going well,” said Fernando Simón, in charge of monitoring the evolution of the epidemic in Spain.

Berlin, which is on alert for a growing second-wave threat, declared virtually all of Spain and part of Croatia’s tourist coasts at risk – popular destinations for German tourists – and imposed tests and quarantines on their return.

Despite the strong rebound, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that the pandemic can be managed in Europe without returning to mandatory confinement.

But it is not only in Europe that the opening has been reversed after months of confinement.

With hospitals overflowing with covid-19 patients and those injured from the deadly explosion on August 4 in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, which faces record rates of infections, it enters confinement again this Friday, with a daily curfew during the night.

The country, which officially registers 9,758 cases of coronavirus (107 deaths), is “on the brink of the abyss,” warned Health Minister Hamad Hassan.

– “Difficult decisions” –

Meanwhile, the economic bill for the pandemic continues to grow.

Private sector growth in the euro zone slowed in August after a strong recovery in July, weakened by a rebound in the pandemic, the Markit cabinet said on Friday.

And in the United Kingdom, public debt at the end of July exceeded the threshold of two trillion pounds (2.61 trillion dollars, 2.2 trillion euros) for the first time, announced this Friday the Office for National Statistics ( ONS).

The impact is so brutal that Finance Minister Rishi Sunak warned that “tough decisions” will be necessary.

The first European economy, Germany is going to break with its budget orthodoxy and will have to resort to borrowing again to finance a significant budget deficit in 2021, the Finance Minister announced on Friday.

Added to the economic problems is the worsening of social problems due to the pandemic.

In Brazil’s precarious prisons, for example, the coronavirus further isolates prisoners from their families and shows poor health services.

“I am afraid of losing my husband in jail. There was never an attention [médica] adequate, but now the concern is greater because we are dealing with an invisible enemy, ”Mónica, whose husband has been detained for four years in the state of Sao Paulo, told AFP.