China confines one and a half million people – coronavirus

China on Sunday, July 28, confined about 1.5 million people in an area close to the capital, Beijing, hit by a new outbreak of covid-19 infections, which the authorities still describe as “serious and complex”.

The country had managed to contain the evolution of contagions due to the new coronavirus, but the detection of more than 300 new cases in the city in just over two weeks has fueled fears of a second wave of contamination.

Local authorities have meanwhile launched a vast testing campaign, closed schools, asked Beijing residents to stay in the city, avoiding displacement outside the capital, and confined several thousand people to residential areas considered to be at greatest risk of contagion.

Today, according to the agency France-Presse, the local authorities announced the confinement of the canton of Anxin, located about 60 kilometers south of the capital, in the province of Hebei, where eleven cases were detected related to the outbreak in Beijing.

The indications are that only one person per family will be able to go out once a day to buy food or medicine.

The Health Ministry said today that China had diagnosed 17 new cases of covid-19 in the past 24 hours, including 14 in Beijing.

All cases in Beijing are locally contagious. The remaining three are from abroad and have been diagnosed in different parts of the country.

The China Health Commission has reported no new deaths across the country.

The number of active cases was set at 415, including eight in serious condition.

According to official data, since the beginning of the pandemic, China has registered 83,500 infected and 4,634 dead due to covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 498,000 deaths and infected more than 10 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.


China confines one and a half million people – coronavirus

China on Sunday, July 28, confined about 1.5 million people in an area close to the capital, Beijing, hit by a new outbreak of covid-19 infections, which the authorities still describe as “serious and complex”.

The country had managed to contain the evolution of contagions due to the new coronavirus, but the detection of more than 300 new cases in the city in just over two weeks has fueled fears of a second wave of contamination.

Local authorities have meanwhile launched a vast testing campaign, closed schools, asked Beijing residents to stay in the city, avoiding displacement outside the capital, and confined several thousand people to residential areas considered to be at greatest risk of contagion.

Today, according to the agency France-Presse, the local authorities announced the confinement of the canton of Anxin, located about 60 kilometers south of the capital, in the province of Hebei, where eleven cases were detected related to the outbreak in Beijing.

The indications are that only one person per family will be able to go out once a day to buy food or medicine.

The Health Ministry said today that China had diagnosed 17 new cases of covid-19 in the past 24 hours, including 14 in Beijing.

All cases in Beijing are locally contagious. The remaining three are from abroad and have been diagnosed in different parts of the country.

The China Health Commission has reported no new deaths across the country.

The number of active cases was set at 415, including eight in serious condition.

According to official data, since the beginning of the pandemic, China has registered 83,500 infected and 4,634 dead due to covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 498,000 deaths and infected more than 10 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.


Coronavirus. Alert on the confinement abuse of patients in psychiatry

It is prohibited to‘” locking up psychiatric patients under the containment health “recalled this Friday 19 June 2020, the comptroller general of places of deprivation of liberty (CGLPL) which has made recommendations to mental hospitals after finding “serious “ abuse.

During a visit to the psychiatric hospital Roger Prevot of Moisselles (Val d Oise) on may 18, Adeline Hazan, observed “serious human rights violations of people who are hospitalized “some of these have been locked in to office.

These abuses are the result “a confusion between the regime of solitary confinement psychiatric established by the code of public health and the containment of health decided by the public authorities “ in the framework of the fight against the coronavirus, regrets the comptroller general in his report.

In this facility, which treats of the inhabitants of the Hauts-de-Seine, patients have found themselves locked up 24 hours on 24 in their rooms while they had no suspicion of Covid-19, and without medical advice written by a psychiatrist.

A confinement is illegal

However, the confinement is illegal “in the absence of a decision by a psychiatrist on clinical considerations “reminds Adeline Hazan, who points out that “the poor understanding alleged gestures barriers by patients could not justify a confinement systematic “.

To raise “any ambiguity “she was sent to the minister of Health a series of recommendations for psychiatric hospitals.

Thus, “if a patient care free to accept psychiatric treatment, but refuses hospitalization in a unit Covid “it must be able to “leaving the hospital, regardless of its position in relation to Covid-19 “, she says.

“It belongs to the psychiatrist, and to him alone, to assess individually whether such a refusal is the result of psychiatric pathology or the free will of the patient “specifies the CGLPL.

The confinement in their room, patients who do not meet the containment, or the gestures of the barrier “can only be based on a decision of isolation motivated by the immediate danger or impending of the patient or others “, she adds.


Interfaith dialogue put to the test of confinement

Although long overdue, it didn’t take long before the symbolic Auschwitz trip to March 4 was canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic. “The decision was made quickly, and well before the confinement”, we say behind the scenes, not without a touch of pride. Proposed by the World Islamic League and the Foundation of Islam of France, this trip was to bring together French representatives of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps.

→ READ. Praying together, what does it mean?

Many interreligious events have been canceled or postponed during the spring, due to confinement: meetings together with Mary for the feast of the Annunciation, but also cross-invitations as part of the Passover, Easter and of Ramadan, which followed one another in April and May.

“I fear that with the interruption of these interreligious events, which are a privileged opportunity to strengthen the bonds between believers, habits are lost and it will be more difficult, then, to restart them”, fears Father Christian Delorme, engaged in Islamic-Christian dialogue in Lyon. All the more so than those concerned believe, digital tools, although they have been in great demand to keep links within the same community, have hardly taken over in the context of interfaith meetings.

In some places, confinement has, however, favored a boom in these meetings, such as in Beauvais (Oise), where a “Solidarity House” has been set up to distribute food parcels to the most disadvantaged for six weeks. In a gymnasium loaned by the city intervened various associations, secular and religious, in an agreement qualified as ’“Exceptional”.

Trust feeling

The circumstances also being exceptional, the national representatives of the various cults will have exchanged a lot during the confinement, in particular on the sidelines of the two videoconferences to which the Élysée invited them, on March 23 and April 21. “We have called each other several times between these two meetings, more than usual”, reports François Clavairoly, president of the Protestant Federation of France (FPF) and of the Council of religious leaders in France (CRCF). “There is between us a climate of trust and sharing, linked to the nature of the CRCF (1), which is not a place for decisions but for exchanges and common questioning. “

When should the places of worship be closed? How to organize a religious funeral while respecting health measures? How to stay in touch with the sick, bereaved or lonely faithful? So many questions for which the interreligious exchanges will have been, according to the interested parties, precious. “Rooted in our particular traditions, we carry the same concern, which is to be at the service of those who are entrusted to us”, continues François Clavairoly. “We all find ourselves naked in front of a pandemic which is sweeping away ours: it brings us closer”, adds Father Vincent Feroldi, in charge of relations with Muslims within the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF).

However, these officials refuse to speak of “Front of religions”. “There were informal exchanges but each cult arrived at videoconferences with its perception and experience, and our requests were not necessarily concerted”, observes Carol Saba, communications manager for the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France.

Proof of this autonomy of the cults vis-à-vis each other: the toll-free number for spiritual accompaniment for people experiencing confinement, set up at the end of March. After considering a single number, religious leaders finally opted for separate lines, for each worship. “A common number would have meant a kind of syncretism”, considers the Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia.

Tensions around the resumption of ceremonies

The videoconferences with President Macron, in which the Masonic lodges also participated, will have been the occasion to see the arrival of a new interlocutor: the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF). Unaccustomed to contact with non-Christian cults, he deplores, through his director general Clément Diedrichs, that this entry into the picture took place in the context of the implication of the evangelicals in the spread of the epidemic , very publicized (2). “The main support we received came from the Catholic press. The FPF also made an article clarifying things, but for the other religions, there was, to my knowledge, no official communications. “

The rector of the Great Mosque of Lyon Kamel Kabtane also says he has been “Very alone” at a time of confinement, when identity networks violently questioned him on the Internet for having organized a call to Muslim prayer on March 25. “I had just taken this initiative to join that of the Catholic Church, in solidarity with the caregivers, and I was called an Islamist! ” he takes offense, stating that if the reactions have “Slow to come”, he still appreciated the support of various religious leaders in Lyon, in a press release dated April 29.

But it was around the date of resumption of religious ceremonies that the tensions were most salient. If the representatives of religions often refuse to speak of it in terms of “Friction”, preferring to see a epiphenomenon », they admit, however, that they have not succeeded in defending a common position on this point.

“Even if I respect the Catholic Church’s request to resume the ceremonies as soon as possible, I admit that I find it difficult to understand it”, says Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM). Part of the Muslims of France, dissatisfied with being “deprived” of the festival of Eid El Fitr unlike the Jews and Christians for Shavuot and Pentecost, consider themselves “discriminated”.

A position all the less understandable, for Mohammed Moussaoui, than “If things go wrong, we, the cults, would be blamed collectively. ” For him, it is clear: “What people learned from the evangelical gathering in Mulhouse was above all that the virus had left a place of worship. “


Coronavirus, our practical post-containment file

10 good practical tips to avoid getting coronavirus

At work, at home, on public transport or in stores that reopen with deconfinement, discover simple steps to take to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus.

How to make a mask?

The making of reusable “homemade” fabric masks is gaining momentum, as health authorities now advise the French to go out with their faces covered. Remember to wash them for 30 minutes at 60 ° C after each use.

Your questions about the Covid-19

How long can the coronavirus survive outside of a human body? Can we catch the virus by breathing the outside air? Find the answers of the editorial staff of The cross to your questions.
Any other questions about the coronavirus epidemic? Put them here

INFOGRAPHY – Shopping, food: the right gestures to adopt

Use your own bags, favor contactless payment, get rid of packaging … The point on the instructions of health authorities at a glance. Also find the hygienic gestures to adopt and the procedure to follow in case of symptoms in our article: How to protect yourself from coronavirus?

Our selection of applications or software to stay connected to loved ones (WhatsApp, Facetime …) and colleagues (Skype, Zoom, Teams)

Because maintaining family and friendly ties during confinement is essential, we have selected audio or videoconferencing tools. In the professional context, several tools are also precious, discover their advantages and weaknesses.


“I admired the burst of creativity of the French” during the confinement

La Croix: How did you personally experience these first steps of nuncio in Paris, in such special confinement circumstances?

Archbishop Celestino Migliore : By respecting all the measures imposed by confinement, I experienced loneliness, but not isolation. The disruption of all rhythms of life has often allowed me to find myself alone with myself and with God, and thus review and reprogram the priorities of my life and my mission. But I never felt isolated.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: France launches deconfinement without a state of health emergency law

Indeed, more than ever before, I have felt the whole world, especially the one who is suffering, present in my thought, in my prayer and my activity. Through social media, I was able to reach many people, listen, express my closeness and also help concretely those who were in need.

Have you already been able to familiarize yourself with this country, this new Church?

Archbishop Celestino Migliore : The calm of confinement allowed me to organize and start my activity at the office, benefiting from the teleworking of my collaborators. But above all, thanks to the means of social communication, I made a first contact with a large number of bishops and different interlocutors of the Apostolic Nunciature.

“We are talking about the responsibility to protect …”

What will you personally retain from containment?

Archbishop Celestino Migliore : I admired the responsible way in which French citizens lived the limits imposed by confinement and, in particular, the burst of solidarity and creativity that individuals and associations have put at the service of the common good. Among them, I would like to underline the important spiritual and human contribution given by all ecclesial communities at all levels.

And how do you see the future?

Archbishop Celestino Migliore : The lessons learned from this dramatic event are numerous, but one seems to me to be particularly important. For some time now, in international and social circles, there has been talk of the responsibility to protect.

For the moment it has remained at the level of beautiful considerations or of the category of world cohabitation. But it is urgent that this responsibility be translated, as soon as possible, into legal norms of relations at international, national and social levels, in order to stimulate not only the prevention of natural or man-made calamities, wars and inequalities social, but also technical, logistical and legislative preparation to quickly deal with the possibility of such phenomena.


LIVE – Coronavirus: France begins its last day of confinement

⇒ 9.45 a.m .: [DANS LA NUIT] Over 4 million people infected

France is on its last day of confinement before the start of “progressive” deconfinement on Monday. The number of victims continued to decline. The epidemic has killed 80 people in 24 hours, including only four in specialized establishments and nursing homes, hard hit. This brings the number total deaths at 26,310 since March 1.

However, the authorities have renewed calls to “Vigilance” in New Aquitaine, a region in the green zone, after the appearance of two outbreaks, one in Dordogne after a funeral, and the other in a secondary school in Vienne after a back-to-school meeting.

♦ The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer “Wish that all children have been able to physically return to school at least once by the end of the month, in an interview with the Sunday Journal. It also confirms that “Nearly 86%” 50,500 schools in France will open from Monday.
→ (RE) READ. What precautions for a peaceful return to school?

♦ Aux United States, the Covid-19 pandemic has made more than 78,746 dead including 1,568 in the past 24 hours. Furthermore, three members of the coronavirus team of the White House, including epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, will stay in isolation after possible exposure to the virus, American media reported on Saturday.

♦ The Covid-19 pandemic caused almost 280,000 dead and over 4 million people have been contaminated.

Welcome everyone to this live dedicated to the coronavirus pandemic.

Let’s start this Sunday with inspirational words from thinkers and artists to help us imagine another world? This is the mission of the miniseries “What if it was tomorrow” launched by the INA (National Audiovisual Institute). Through archive footage and committed tirades, Marguerite Duras, Jaques Delors and many others lead the way for a better world.


Reports to police increased during confinement

“I’m calling you because it seems to me that my neighbor has invited his cousins ​​to his apartment! “ Since the start of confinement, the state of health emergency has somewhat modified the nature of calls to “17”. So much so that in the middle of April, 70% of calls received in some emergency police centers concerned only requests related to confinement in large cities, according to the Alternative Police union.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the latest information in France and worldwide

“It was especially true the first two weeks of confinement, indicates an official, it has calmed down a bit since then. ” A slowing down that the latter explains by a certain fatalism, while the number of infringements noted remains significant. “In Nantes or Lyon, almost a third of calls on average concern only problems related to confinement, says Thierry Clair, of the Unsa Police union. People pick up the phone to report on rallies at the bottom of a building, rodeos and even family gatherings. “

Police sort

Accustomed to sorting, agents working in call centers are not particularly surprised by this increase. “Most of the arguments are not even sanitary, one of them remarked. The claimant assumes that if he follows the rules to the letter, it is abnormal that others do not do the same. ” A resentment that pushes some to enlarge the line, so that the police can intervene. “Sometimes we are informed of a large gathering in the common areas of a building only to find the presence of two mothers with their children …”

But, if the police do not call the French to denounce their neighbors, this practice nevertheless helps their investigative work. “We receive a lot of calls and letters, anonymous or not, throughout the year, assures Thierry Clair. Our colleagues then recognize, from experience, the hoaxes of potentially serious sources. ” These calls, from people who are not regular “informers”, are varied and can concern the neighbor who finds a drug trade down from his home, like the trafficker himself who warns the police to bring down a rival . “Important investigations start from an anonymous phone call”, says the union representative.

A negative image in France…

The fact remains that the “balance” is not always very well seen, the imagination inherited from the collaboration with Nazi Germany is never far away. “It’s always ambiguous, concedes Jean-Marc Berlière. The whistleblower is sometimes animated by jealousy, professional or social, but at the same time he can be in total good faith. “ For this historian, who specializes in the history of the police in France, denunciation and denunciation (the latter designating denunciation by personal interest) have more positive connotations abroad.

→ READ. Villeneuve-la-Garenne, symbol of the difficult dialogue between youth and the police

“We encourage to denounce fraudsters in the London underground for example, it is unimaginable in our country”, informs Guillaume Mazeau. Historian of revolutionary phenomena, he explains this difference by a greater confidence of the State towards the civil society in the United Kingdom. “We also notice this in the relationship that the police have with the population. “

But a legal obligation

Nor surprised by the increase in denunciations, “Classic during crises that involve the restriction of freedoms”, he insisted on the origin of the public denunciation in France, used after the Revolution of 1789 by the people against the tyranny of power and the fight against corruption. “Denunciation is thus at the center of a certain emancipation. “

And it even became a duty: “Everyone who has knowledge of a crime has the obligation to inform the judicial or administrative authorities”, states article 434-1 of the Criminal Code. But watch out for abuse. “It is an absolutely necessary and useful right, adds Guillaume Mazeau. But only if it is well supervised by a strong state and capable of making good use of it, the limit being defamation. “


Four elements to understand the different spread of the virus – Hanna Beech

May 05, 2020 5:47 pm

In Iran, the covid-19 killed so many people that the government was forced to bury them in mass graves. In neighboring Iraq, however, the victims are less than a hundred. The Dominican Republic has recorded nearly 7,600 cases of contagion, but just beyond the border, in Haiti, the toll has stopped at 85. In Indonesia, thousands of people are believed to have died from the epidemic, while in neighboring Malaysia a series of Extremely rigid measures has kept deaths around a hundred.

The covid-19 has hit almost every country in the world, but its impact appears extremely erratic. Where global metropolises such as New York, Paris and London have been devastated, megacities such as Bangkok, Baghdad, New Delhi and Lagos have been substantially spared. At least so far.

The fact that the virus has swept some areas of the planet leaving others almost unscathed is a puzzle that has fueled a series of theories and conjectures, without however producing any definitive answer. Understanding this phenomenon could have profound consequences on how countries deal with the epidemic, making it possible to determine who is taking the greatest risks and when it will be possible to resume a semblance of normal life.

Theses and denials
At the moment, hundreds of researches are underway in the four corners of the planet on the possible effects of demographic conditions, previous diseases and genetic characteristics.

In Saudi Arabia, doctors are evaluating the possibility that genetic differences affect the severity of covid-19 symptoms, while Brazilian scientists are analyzing the relationship between genes and complications of the disease. In several countries, researchers are testing a theory that hypertension medications could worsen the severity of covid-19, while a specific tuberculosis drug could have the opposite effect.

The fact that many developing countries with warm climates and a young population have been spared the more catastrophic consequences of the virus suggests that temperature and demography are determining factors, but this thesis is denied by the high number of cases in countries tropical like Peru, Indonesia and Brazil.

There is still not enough data to compose a complete epidemiological picture

In general, timely measures to impose social distancing and blocking of activities have been effective. Yet two countries such as Cambodia and Burma, where strict isolation measures have not been taken, have experienced a limited number of infections.

In this regard, there is a theory that has not been proven, but it is impossible to refute: perhaps the virus has not yet affected these countries. Russia and Turkey initially seemed unscathed, but then the situation suddenly precipitated.

There is always the possibility that time will eliminate these differences. The Spanish fever that hit the United States in 1918 seemed to have disappeared during the summer, but returned with much more vehemence in the following autumn and then again in a third wave the following year. Eventually the virus reached remote locations such as the islands of Alaska and the South Pacific, infecting a third of the world’s population.

“We are still at an early stage of the epidemic,” confirms Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Institute for Global Health Research. “If it were a baseball game we would be in the second inning. We do not know if at the ninth inning the countries that currently seem spared will have the same conditions as the others. ”

Doctors studying infectious diseases around the world point out that they don’t have enough data to compose a complete epidemiological picture. In many countries, the lack of information makes any conclusion dangerous. Often the analysis of the samples proceeds slowly, and this creates a strong underestimation of the number of infections. The deaths from covid-19 are almost certainly much more numerous than those recorded.

Yet general trends seem quite clear. A country may have enormous administrative difficulties and an inefficient health system, but it is still difficult to hide mass graves or hospitals that refuse thousands of patients. So it is undeniable that several countries are not experiencing a dramatic situation. At the moment.

According to the statements of about twenty infectious disease experts, health officials, epidemiologists and academics from around the world, there are four factors that could help explain where the virus thrives and where it encounters difficulties: demography, culture, environment and the speed of response from the authorities.

However, every possible explanation is accompanied by abundant reservations and evidence that seems to contradict it. If an older population is automatically more vulnerable, for example, Japan should be at the top of the list of infections. But that’s not the case at all. In any case, these are the factors that experts believe are most convincing.

The power of youth
Many countries spared from a mass epidemic have relatively young populations. According to Robert Bollinger, an infectious disease professor at Johns Hopkins University medical school, young people are more likely to be asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms, and transmit the virus less frequently. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) young people have a minor tendency to develop a series of problems that can increase the mortality of covid-19, the disease caused by the Sars-cov-2 virus.

Africa, where 45 thousand confirmed cases represent an infinitesimal portion of the 1.3 billion inhabitants, is the youngest continent in the world. 60 percent of the African population is under 25 years old. In Thailand and the Iraqi city of Najaf, local health authorities have verified that the age group between 20 and 29 years has the highest rate of contagion, but often does not develop particular symptoms.

By contrast, the average age of Italy, one of the most affected countries, is over 45 years old, while the average age of the victims is around 80 years old.

Japan’s population is the oldest in the world, but the country has experienced fewer than 520 deaths

Younger people tend to have a firmer immune system that can reduce the symptoms of the disease, says Josip Car, global health expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University.

In Saudi Arabia and Singapore, for example, most of the infection affects migrant workers, many of whom live in crowded dormitories. However, these are often young and healthy people who have not needed hospitalization.

According to some US researchers, a good state of health, together with young age, can lessen the impact of the virus, while some pre-existing diseases – hypertension, diabetes and obesity – can worsen its effects.

However, there are significant exceptions to demographic theory. Japan’s population is the oldest in the world, but the country has recorded fewer than 520 deaths, although the number of cases has increased with the intensification of sample analyzes.

The Ecuadorian region of Guayas, the epicenter of an outbreak that could have caused the death of seven thousand people, has one of the youngest populations in the country: people over the age of 60 represent just 11 percent of the population.

Dr Jha points out that some asymptomatic young people are still extremely contagious, for reasons that are not yet clear at the moment.

Cultural distancing
According to epidemiologists, cultural factors such as the natural tendency of some societies to keep their distance may have protected some states more.

In Thailand and India, where the numbers of the virus are relatively low, people greet each other without contact, reaching the palms of their hands as they do in prayers. In Japan and South Korea people greet each other with a bow, and even before the advent of the covid-19 they often wore masks in case of malaise.

A Red Cross volunteer measures a man’s body temperature at the entrance to the market in Kampala, Uganda, April 1, 2020.

(Sumy Sadurni, Afp)

In most developing countries, the habit of caring for the elderly in the family has reduced the number of rest homes, structures that in the West have been fertile ground for the epidemic.

But even in this case there are important exceptions. In many Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq and the Persian Gulf states, men have a habit of hugging and shaking hands. Yet contagions are rare.

Another advantage could derive from the so-called “national distancing”: relatively isolated countries have experienced positive health effects.

Remote states such as those in the South Pacific or sub-Saharan Africa, for example, have not been invaded by foreigners who brought the virus with them. According to African health experts, the reduced number of international journeys is the main reason for the low rate of infection on the continent.

The least accessible countries for political reasons (such as Venezuela) or because of armed conflicts (Syria and Libya) have been protected from the relative absence of travelers. The same goes for countries like Lebanon and Iraq, marked by violent protests in recent months. Furthermore, the lack of public transport in developing countries could be another factor that has limited the spread of the virus.

Heat and light
The geography of the contagion – which spread rapidly during the winter in temperate countries such as Italy and the United States while it was virtually absent in warm countries such as Chad or Guyana – seems to suggest that the virus does not like the heat. Other coronaviruses, such as those that cause the common cold, are less contagious in hot, humid climates.

However, according to the researchers, the idea that hot weather is enough to repel the virus is an illusion. In fact, some of the worst outbreaks in developing countries have exploded in areas such as the Brazilian Amazon, where the climate is tropical. “The most convincing hypothesis is that the summer climate contributes but is not sufficient to slow down the increase in cases or to cause a reduction”, explains Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for communicable disease dynamics of Harvard University.

No scientist has ever claimed that projecting light rays inside an infected person can be an effective cure

According to Dr. Raul Rabadan, a computational biologist at Columbia University, the virus that causes covid-19 appears to be so contagious as to mitigate any beneficial effect of heat and humidity. However, other aspects related to hot climates, such as the tendency to spend more time outdoors, could have positive effects. “Living indoors can encourage virus recirculation, increasing the chance of contracting the disease,” says Dr. Car.

According to a study conducted by some ecological model specialists of the University of Connecticut, ultraviolet rays from direct sunlight inhibit Sars-cov-2. This means that surfaces are more difficult to contaminate in sunny places. But the fact remains that transmission usually occurs through contact with an infected person, not with a surface.

Unlike Donald Trump, no scientist has ever argued that projecting light rays inside an infected person can be an effective cure. In addition, the tropical climate may have created a false sense of security in some people. “Here people said ‘there isn’t, we can’t take it’,” says Ecuadorian researcher Doménica Cevallos. “Some went out to sunbathe, convinced that this would protect them from infection.”

Timely and rigid blocking
Countries that promptly introduced isolation measures, such as Vietnam and Greece, have avoided an out-of-control contagion. This data demonstrates the effectiveness of social and physical distancing and quarantine in containing the virus.

In Africa, countries that have accumulated some experience with deadly diseases such as AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis and Ebola were better prepared and reacted promptly.

In countries such as Uganda and Sierra Leone, airport staff began to wear masks, track contacts and measure the temperature (a measure that has in the meantime proved less effective than expected) much earlier than the United States and European countries.

Senegal and Rwanda closed their borders and announced a curfew when there were still few cases of contagion. In both countries, the ministry of health promptly initiated the procedures for tracing contacts.

All of this happened in a region where funds, personnel and health care equipment depend on the generosity of foreign countries, many of which are currently focused on the health emergency within their borders, emphasizes African executive director Catherine Kyobutungi population and health research center.

“Governments wake up one day and understand that the burden of the whole country is now all on their shoulders, and therefore they have to do it alone,” explains Kyobutungi. “In the end they proved to be up to the situation. I have to admit that some of the responses have been exciting. ”

In countries without adequate social assistance and where the informal economy is widespread, it will be difficult to keep activities and domestic isolation closed

Sierra Leone has adapted the protocols for the detection of diseases developed during the 2014 ebola epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly four thousand people. The government has set up emergency operations centers in each district and has hired 14,000 health workers, including 1,500 trained to track contacts, despite the fact that Sierra Leone has recorded just 155 cases.

However, it is still unclear who will pay the wages and equipment such as motorcycles and raincoats, essential during the rainy season that is just around the corner.

Uganda, another country affected by the ebola epidemic, promptly quarantined travelers from Dubai after confirming that the first case of infection had come from the emirate. The authorities tracked down 800 other travelers arriving from Dubai in the previous weeks. Health workers in the country are testing over a thousand truck drivers per day. However, most of the infected people come from Tanzania and Kenya, two countries that are not performing equally intense monitoring. This feeds the fear that the infection could spread across the country’s borders, far from solid.

According to the WHO, the isolation measures, with the ban imposed on religious and sporting events, are evidently effective. More than a month after the closure of national borders, schools and most commercial activities, countries such as Thailand and Jordan have experienced a collapse in new cases of contagion.

A mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 27 2020.

(Willy Kurniawan, Reuters / Contrasto)

In the Middle East, the closure of mosques, temples and churches has been fairly timely and has probably helped stem the epidemic.

A notable exception is represented by Iran, which waited on March 18 before closing its most important places of worship, or a month after the confirmation of the first case in the sacred city of Qom. Since then, the epidemic has spread rapidly, killing thousands of people and spreading the virus across borders, through pilgrims returning home.

However effective blocking measures are, in countries where adequate social assistance is lacking and where most people depend on the informal economy, it will be difficult to maintain business closure and domestic isolation. When people are forced to choose between social distancing and the possibility of feeding their families, they usually don’t have many doubts.

Strangely, some countries where the authorities reacted late and in fits and starts seem to have been spared the virus. In a context marked by scarce measures of social distancing, Cambodia and Laos have been hit by short waves of contagion, but they have not recorded new cases for three weeks now.

Lebanon, from which many Muslim and Christian pilgrims leave for countries overwhelmed by the virus such as Iran and Italy, should present widespread contagion, but this is not the case. “We are not collecting the data we had expected,” says Dr. Roy Nasnas, a consultant specializing in infectious diseases at the Geitaoui University Hospital in Beirut. “We can’t explain it.”

The case
Most experts agree that there may not be a single reason why one country is hit hard while another is spared. The cause of the phenomenon is probably a combination of the factors discussed, together with one last element often cited by researchers: pure chance.

Countries with similar culture and climate can present radically different situations: it is sufficient for a single infected person to participate in a particularly crowded social event, triggering what researchers call a “super-diffusing” event.

This is exactly what happened when a passenger infected 634 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, off the coast of Japan; or when an infected man attended a funeral in Albany, Georgia; or even when a 61-year-old woman entered a church in Daegu, South Korea, transmitting the virus to hundreds of people who in turn infected thousands of Koreans.


Since an infected person may not show symptoms for a week or even longer (not to mention asymptomatic), the virus spreads without anyone detecting it, exponentially and following an apparently random path. If on that Sunday in February the Daegu woman had stayed at home, it is possible that the numbers of the epidemic in South Korea would have halved today.

Yet some countries that were supposed to be swept away by the virus right now are not, and researchers can’t find a reason.

In mid-January, Thailand registered the first case of contagion outside China. It was a traveler from Wuhan, the city where the pandemic is thought to have originated. In those crucial weeks Thailand has continued to welcome visitors from China, but for some reason tourists have not triggered an exponential outbreak.

Some countries seem to have made every possible mistake, yet they have not been overwhelmed by the virus as would be expected. For many it remains a mystery.

“In Indonesia we have a health minister who is convinced that we can recover from covid-19 by praying, and we practically do not swab,” said Dr. Pandu Riono, infectious disease specialist at the University of Indonesia. “But we are fortunate to have many islands and this limits travel and perhaps even infections. Apart from islands, however, we are doing everything wrong. ”

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)


Monaco breaks out of containment, churches adopt new rules

This Monday, May 4, the Monegasques are unconfined. Churches and chapels are also reopening. Eucharistic celebrations can resume, as well as baptisms, marriages and burials. The directives in the Principality are not those of France, where religious gatherings will not be authorized on the date of deconfinement, May 11.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the latest news in France and worldwide on May 4

By virtue of which, the exercise of worship in Monaco is precisely defined by a press release from the very young Archbishop Mgr Dominique-Marie David, installed in his office on January 21, 2020.

Open churches

The provisions apply from Monday, May 4, with maximum precautions. The Archbishop even extends the ” general exemption from attendance at Sunday mass and on precept days “Which is maintained” so that the most vulnerable are encouraged to remain cautious. So that the faithful can stay in touch, Sunday Mass will continue to be broadcast on social networks and on the Monaco Info television channel on Sunday.

In the various churches and chapels, the wearing of the mask becomes compulsory for the faithful and the staff as soon as they enter the buildings, stipulates the diocese press release. ” Signage placed at the entrance recalls barrier gestures and mentions the number of worshipers authorized inside “, It is specified. Church by church, this number is determined taking as a base a maximum of one person per 4 m2 and respecting a sanitary distance of 1.5 m.

One hundred places in the cathedral

Thus a hundred places are planned for the cathedral, while it is planned, for example, only 50 places in the Saint-Martin church or only 25 places in the chapel of the Sacred Heart. However, the number of services has been multiplied, to allow a maximum of faithful to attend masses at different times of the day; all week long.

→ INVESTIGATION. Initiatives to live your faith until June 2

The provisions are precise and could serve as a basis for French buildings which have just three weeks to prepare for the first rallies after June 2. Thus, a distributor of hydroalcoholic product is available at the entrance of each church while the holy water fonts remain empty. Circulation in churches is also regulated: ” Depending on the different places, and as far as possible, a separate entrance and exit are materialized and a traffic flow set up – in particular for the movement of communion – to prevent people from crossing paths.

Celebrations under surveillance

No mass book will be made available to the faithful during the celebration, only photocopied sheets for single use may be offered. ” The same microphone can only be used by the same person during the celebration, the proclamation of the readings and the intentions of prayers being ensured by the only celebrant or, if there is another priest, a deacon or a reader “, Specifies the archbishopric.

The gesture of peace will not be offered and the instructions for communion are strict: ” Priests or deacons wash their hands – before and after – with hydroalcoholic gel. They are recommended to wear a mask, and the faithful are invited to receive communion in the hand, while the concelebrants commune by extinction or with other chalices.

If the measures recommended by the Archbishopric of Monaco are common sense and obvious health precautions, they have the merit of being particularly concrete, constituting a kind of “deconfinement test”. It remains to be hoped that this precise and binding protocol in no way alters the fervor of the Monegasque faithful who can once again celebrate in their found church.