Foreign Desk Report
LONDON: Global infections from the novel coronavirus passed five million on Thursday as cases surged in Latin America, signs of normal life returned to parts of Europe and the US and China kept up their blame game over the pandemic. The grim milestone comes after known cases of COVID-19 doubled in just one month, according to media data collected from official sources, with the death toll now topping 328,000 worldwide.
While many hard-hit European countries have significantly curbed the contagion, Latin America is becoming a new hotspot with cases on the rise. Brazil logged the third-highest number of cases in the world after the US and Russia. Peru, Mexico and Chile have also seen steady increases in infections, with nurses in Lima warning that the health system is on the brink of collapse after cases and deaths tripled over the past three weeks.
“It’s like a horror film,” Miguel Armas, a nurse at the Hipolito Unanue hospital in the capital Lima, told newsmen. “Inside it seems like a cemetery given all the bodies. Patients are dying in their chairs (or) in their wheelchairs.” In Brazil, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro continues to scorn experts’ advice on curbing the contagion as he presses regional governors to end stay-at-home measures.