Coronavirus live news: South America is now pandemic's epicentre, says WHO

Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera has kicked off a programme to provide support for families struggling during the pandemic.

About 2.5m packages of food and hygiene products will be distributed over the weekend to families in Santiago before the scheme expands to other parts of the country. Piñera said:

It is a support and relief for millions and millions of Chilean families who need urgent help.

However, poorer communities claim they are not receiving the support they need to survive during the pandemic, especially those who make up 30% of the country’s informal economy.

Unrest broke out earlier this week in several parts of the country over hunger, most notably in the Santiago district El Bosque, when dozens of people took to the street to express their desperation.

Police swiftly arrived, leading to violent clashes between police and protesters.

“After four weeks of quarantine, despair and hunger begin to appear,” said the mayor of El Bosque Sadi Melo Moya who condemned the police’s heavy-handed reaction.

The hunger protests have led to the emergence of dozens of makeshift soup kitchens in the city’s working-class neighbourhoods, where communities have united under the mantra “only the people help the people”.

Videos circulating on social media show police interrupting community support efforts, confiscating donated goods and shutting down soup kitchens.

The police denied accusations of excessive repression, claiming one of the gatherings filmed required intervention as it had “initiated disorder” and did not respect the quarantine.

Chile’s former president and the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “It is key to generate important mechanisms for social protection.”

South America is now pandemic’s epicentre – WHO



The British Grand Prix faces a race against time to resolve the problem created by the government’s imposition of quarantine on all entry into the UK, writes Giles Richards for the Guardian’s sports desk.

The chances of the race at Silverstone being held look increasingly slim but Formula One is understood to be remaining in a dialogue with the government in an attempt to find a solution.

F1 has yet to comment and is studying the full quarantine document before entering further talks with the government. As things stand, with F1 denied any exemption from the quarantine procedures, not only is the British GP under threat but the sport faces an increasingly complex challenge as it attempts to create and implement a new calendar for the 2020 season.


Germany has announced a series of reforms of the country’s meat industry, including a ban on the use of subcontractors and fines of €30,000 (£26,000) for companies breaching labour regulations, as slaughterhouses have emerged as coronavirus hotspots, writes Holly Young in Berlin.

A number of meat plants across the country have temporarily closed after hundreds of workers tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.

This week more than 90 workers were reported to have fallen ill at a plant in Dissen, Lower Saxony. Following an outbreak at a plant in Coesfeld, where more than 270 out of 1,200 workers tested positive, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced mass testing of industry employees.

An outbreak at a plant in Bavaria in the district of Straubing-Bogen coincides with numbers of infections reaching the “emergency break” level of 50 cases per 100,000 residents. States passing this point are allowed to reimpose lockdown restrictions.

“The corona outbreaks have not surprised us at all,” said Jonas Bohl, from the German Food, Beverages and Catering Union. “Rather the surprise was that they took a while to emerge.

“The people not only work closely together but more importantly they live together, in very cramped conditions where there is no possibility to keep social distance.”


Spain’s Covid-19 daily death toll has remained under 100 for the sixth consecutive day, according to the latest health ministry figures, which show that 56 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, reports Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent.

To date, the country has recorded 234,824 cases of the disease and 28,628 deaths.





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