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In poor regions, easing virus lockdowns brings new risks

Source(s):  SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Communications Inc.

By Maria Cheng and Mauricio Savarese


Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, India and Pakistan are among countries easing tight restrictions, not only before their outbreaks have peaked but also before any detailed surveillance and testing system is in place to keep the virus under control. That could ultimately have devastating consequences, health experts warn.


But in many poor regions where crowded slums and streets mean even basic measures like hand-washing and social distancing are difficult, the coronavirus is exploding now that restrictions are being removed. Last week, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, India and Pakistan all saw one-day records of new infections or deaths as they reopened public spaces and businesses.


Across Latin America, countries that cracked down early and hard, like El Salvador and Panama, have done relatively well, although some of that has come at the expense of human rights and civil liberties, Wenham said.


“Countries are simply not following World Health Organization advice to lock down and are saying they need another strategy,” Woolhouse said. He noted the relatively younger demographics of many developing countries might help them avoid the high death rates seen in Italy, Spain and Britain.



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  • Publication date 08 Jun 2020

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