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first_img“It’s very heterogeneous,” said Marcelo Gomes, of leading public health research institute Fiocruz.Brazil’s 27 states are all facing different epidemics. Even within states, “things can change a lot from one region to the next,” he told AFP.Nationwide, the curve of daily COVID-19 deaths in Brazil has been in a long plateau since June, albeit in a very high range.At the state level, things are murkier. Brazil is being battered by the coronavirus crisis, but the damage is uneven across the sprawling South American country, where experts say chaotic policy-making has only made a complicated situation worse.Like the United States — the only country that has recorded more infections and deaths in the pandemic — Brazil is a continent-sized giant with myriad regions and sub-regions, held together by a federal system that can breed a confusing cacophony of national, state and local policies even at the best of times.The national statistics on the new coronavirus — more than 2.3 million infections and 85,000 deaths — mask a varied panorama across the country of 212 million people. On average over the past seven days, four states posted declining daily death tolls, including once-devastated Amazonas in the north and Ceara in the northeast.Ten had rising numbers, including in the south and west-central regions, which had been less affected until recently.And 13 were basically stable, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two hardest hit states.In some states, including Ceara and Rio de Janeiro, there is talk of a “second wave, even though the first wave never really tapered off,” said Gomes.President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the pandemic, comparing the virus to a “little flu” and the reaction to it “hysteria.”The far-right leader, who regularly defies social distancing guidelines, tested positive for the virus himself on July 7 after developing a fever and fatigue.On Saturday, after spending nearly three weeks in self-isolation at the presidential palace, he said he had tested negative for the virus — crediting his controversial use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, whose efficacy against COVID-19 has not been proven.Amid Bolsonaro’s attacks on stay-at-home measures to contain the virus, the Supreme Court gave state and local authorities the final say in the matter.But states and municipalities have imposed an inelegant hodge-podge of quarantine measures, with little in the way of enforcement and a widespread lack of adherence.That has been followed, in some cases, by poorly designed policies to reopen the economy, which many experts have deemed premature.Brazilians are also split by huge socioeconomic and regional divides. Private hospitals in the wealthy industrial cities of the southeast look nothing like public ones in the poor north and northeast.The World Health Organization said last week Brazil finally appeared to have reached the plateau, urging it to use the occasion to take control.”We’re still a long way from that. It’s not that we’re not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t even see the tunnel,” said Jose David Urbaez, an infectious disease specialist at Asa Norte Regional Hospital in Brasilia.”If Bolsonaro’s attitude were different, if there were a coordinated central response, the situation would be a lot different,” he added.”This diversity of situations is more down to management chaos than the actual epidemiological picture. We could have had a single quarantine for everyone, with different layers and timing adapted to each region.”Topics :last_img read more

first_imgThe chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Amara Konneh, has disclosed a number of projects the bank is about to undertake in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. Mr. Konneh is also the Minister of Finance and Development Planning.At a press conference marking the 50th anniversary launching in Monrovia yesterday, Minister Konneh said LBDI will provide a 250 KVA generator to Phebe hospital in Suacoco, a digital medical database machine to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (JFK) in Monrovia, construct a computer lab on the main campus of the University of Liberia and finance the International Spelling Bee competition in the country where young people can explore their talents.The digital medical machine, according to Minister Konneh, will be used to record names of patients and all necessary information regarding each patient.He said the planned gesture to the Liberian people is in consonance with the bank’s corporate social responsibility.Minister Konneh said LBDI is not just an ordinary bank in the country, but one that affords all Liberians access to finance to enhance development.He noted that LBDI has done tremendous work for Liberians in the private sector, recalling the funding it provided the rubber sector last year.Additionally, Minister Konneh said, the bank is a friend to the private sector because of its support to businesses.The President of LBDI, John B.S. Davies, disclosed that his institution is in the process of installing an ATM machine in Monrovia to ease transfer services, noting that no customers will have to go to a teller for money but will receive funds through the machine.Activities marking the anniversary celebration will comprise of various activities, thanksgiving service, sports, and intellectual debates, Mr. Davies disclosed.The intellectual contest will feature Stella Maris Polytechnic University and the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) debating the topic, ‘’Legislating a Bank Account as Pre-requisite for Business Registration,’’ while former LBDI president Mr. Francis A. Dennis and Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh will discuss the challenges and prospects of ‘’Dual Currency’’ in Liberia.The LBDI President further noted that members of the Board are to also discuss strategic plans of the bank for the next five years and targeted actions that will impact infrastructure, agriculture and Small Medium Enterprises (SME), and how LBDI can engage the people of Liberia to deliver need regarding access to finance.Mr. Davies expressed the bank’s commitment to supporting the SMEs and Agriculture sectors, which according to him are the gateways to the country’s economy.Furthermore, he disclosed that LBDI will improve customer service by studying the prevailing conditions to employ new methods. One challenge to customer service at LBDI has been the constant breakdown of the bank’s system, which annoys customers most of the time.“As the bank celebrates its 50th anniversary, we remain strong, more robust and stand to be in the near future the largest bank in the country,” Mr. Davies said.According to him, the celebration is intended to look at the prospects and challenges, and to devise strategies that will help to address the challenges.Mr. Davies paid homage to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s leadership role in the country.’’The press conference at which Mr. Davies and Mr Konneh spoke also brought together Augustine Jarrett, Economic Advisor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of the LBDI Board of Directors and staff of the bank.Mr. Jarrett expressed appreciation to the bank for its valuable services and urged it to continue.LBDI was founded in 1961 but commenced operations in 1965 as the Liberian Bank for Industrial Development and Investment.Under an amendment in 1974, the name was changed to the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more