WHO says no return to 'normal' as Latin America deaths pass USMonday, July 13, 2020
GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP)— Too many nations are mismanaging their coronavirus response, placing a return to normality a long way off, the World Health Organization warned Monday as Latin America recorded the world's second-highest death toll.
With new infections spreading like wildfire, many countries were reimposing restrictions on Monday, locking down towns and cities and reintroducing measures to halt the spread of the sickness.
But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that too many countries were "headed in the wrong direction" with governments giving out mixed messages that were undermining trust.
"There will be no return to the 'old normal' for the foreseeable future," he said, warning that without governments adopting a comprehensive strategy, the situation would get "worse and worse and worse".
Since the start of July, nearly 2.5 million new infections have been detected across the globe, with the number of cases doubling over the past six weeks, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
In Spain, regional officials were in a standoff with courts after a judge suspended a lockdown just hours after it was imposed on 160,000 people in the Catalonia city of Lerida following a sharp rise in cases.
Despite calls to respect the closure, many people were on the streets by mid-afternoon, with shops and bars still open, an AFP correspondent said.
It was the first such order given since Spain's lockdown ended on June 21 and the situation in the northeastern city was the most worrying among 120 outbreaks across a country where the virus has killed more than 28,400 people.
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