The Colombian government announced the economic reopening of some sectors for June 8, a measure that has generated concern in the medical community due to the increase in the number of infections and deaths facing the country. On the other hand, Marcelo Queiroga, Brazil’s Minister of Health, announced that there is no evidence on the effectiveness of chloroquine as a treatment against Covid-19, while in Europe at least one million people already have a health certificate.
The Covid-19 pandemic had an economic impact around the world. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the economy fell 3.3% in 2020 as a result, among other things, of confinements and the stoppage of the main productive activities.
On the other hand, the contraction in Latin America and the Caribbean stood at -7%, according to the same organization. This fall was basically caused by travel restrictions, which affected one of the main economic activities in the region, such as tourism, the collapse in oil prices and the limited commercialization of raw materials.
According to the Banco de la República, in Colombia, the third country most affected by the disease in Latin America, the decline registered was 6.8% in its economy. Likewise, the unemployment rate, during the first months of the pandemic and the subsequent confinement, stood at 15.9% although it was decreasing until closing, in December 2020 at 13.4%, according to the report of the Administrative Department National Statistics Office (Dane) in January 2021.
The world is still affected by the disease and currently, according to the independent count from Johns Hopkins University, it registers a cumulative 173.7 million infections with 3.7 deaths associated with the disease. However, vaccination has become a hope and to date 2,169.6 million doses have been applied, which is why the IMF projects a growth of the world economy by 2021 of 6%.
Here are the most important news about the pandemic this June 8:
- Colombia reopens its economy amid increased infections and hospital occupancy
As part of the process of job recovery and return to what is defined as the new normal, the Colombian Government, with the support of some local executives, made the decision to open the economy, maintaining restrictions in some cases, especially in those locations where occupancy in intensive care units exceeds 85%.
The economic reopening coincides with the process of social outbreak that the country has been experiencing since April 28, when thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against the tax reform that the Government intended to apply, which was later shelved although that it did not appease popular discontent.
The Colombian government trusts the reopening of its vaccination process, which, despite starting at a slow pace, has accelerated in recent days. According to official figures, the authorities estimate the administration of 17 million doses at the end of June, with an average of 300,000 daily inoculations.
The announcement about the reopening has caused concern in a part of society and especially in the medical union of the South American country. According to the Colombian newspaper ‘El País’, some 130 scientific, academic, union and health sector institutions and associations have asked the National Government to repeal resolution 777, which establishes conditions for the reopening of economic and social activities, under the argument that it is the worst moment of the pandemic.
On June 4, Colombia registered its worst day since the start of the pandemic with a record of 30,000 new infections and 537 deaths associated with the disease in one day. According to the epidemiological bulletin, issued on June 7, the nation registered 21,949 new infections, raising the accumulated to 3.5 million cases, and 92,496 deaths, 535 of them in the last 24 hours.
Bogotá, the capital of the country, is one of the cities with the highest occupancy rate in intensive care units with 97.3%, which will prevent it from reopening nightclubs and the presence of fans at professional soccer matches or concerts.
However, the mayor of the city, Claudia López, has justified the opening and does not rule out an increase in the number of deaths in the coming days. “We could stay at home in strict quarantine throughout the city, but the contagion has already occurred. With or without opening, we are going to have two or three weeks with high occupancy ”, said the president in statements collected by the Spanish newspaper ‘El País’.
- Minister of Health of Brazil: “There is no efficacy of chloroquine as a treatment against Covid-19”
The Brazilian Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, highlighted during an appearance in the Congress of his country that “there is no proven evidence regarding the efficacy of chloroquine as a treatment against Covid-19.”
“This issue (the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against Covid), which has been present in the fight against the pandemic from the beginning, has generated a strong division among doctors. On the one hand, there are those like me, more linked to the scientific societies, and there is the thought, on the other side, of the attending physicians who are on the front line, who report success stories with these treatments (…) It is up to me, as Minister of Health, to try to harmonize this context, to that we have a more peaceful condition in the medical profession and we can move forward, “explained Queiroga.
The statements by Queiroga, the fourth Minister of Health during the term of President Jair Bolsonaro, contradict the position of the head of state, who has defended the use of the drug since the beginning of the disease.
His appearance before the Senate is part of the work of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI for its acronym in Portuguese) that investigates alleged omissions of the president during the pandemic.
Brazil is the third most affected nation in the world by the number of infections with a cumulative record of 16.9 million cases. However, it is the second country with the most deaths associated with the disease with 474,414 deaths, only surpassed by the United States.
- More than a million people have received the health certificate in the European Union
Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice of the European Union (EU), reported that more than a million people in Europe have received digital health certificates. “This will make life easier for European citizens. The Covid Digital Certificate will help them travel in the EU, whether for professional, family or leisure reasons, ”Reynders said.
According to the official, the documents certify that the carrier has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, that he has had a negative test result or that he is immune after infection. These are beginning to be broadcast, at the moment, in nine countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Spain.
This certificate must be recognized by all the countries of the European Union (EU) as of July 1 under a regulation that will be endorsed by the European Parliament in a vote whose results will be announced on June 9. However, Member States retain the possibility to impose additional restrictive measures, for example in the event of the emergence of a variant of the coronavirus.
With Reuters, EFE, AFP and the media