Mexico now says at least 61,000 people have gone missing in the country’s drug wars. The 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared five years ago have become emblematic of the violence [File: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo]
The Mexican government said on Monday more than 61,000 people had gone missing as a result of the increasingly violent drug war with powerful cartels, 50 percent more than the government previously estimated.
The new figure from the one-year-old administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, compares with about 40,000 missing cited by the government as recently as June.
Mexico registers record number of homicides
AMLO’s first year: Concern over security and economy looms
How can Mexico break the cycle of violence?
“The official data of missing persons is 61,637,” Karla Quintana, head of the National Registry of Missing or Missing Persons (RNPED), told a news conference.
She said about a quarter of the missing were women.
Mexico violence: Homicide rate reached record in 2019
More than 97.4 percent of the total have gone missing since 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon sent the army to the streets to fight drug traffickers, fragmenting the cartels and leading to vicious internal fighting.
AMLO has adopted a policy of “hugs, not bullets” in dealing with violent crime, focussing on addressing inequality and tackling corruption, but the death toll has continued to climb.
The country suffered a record number of homicides in 2019.
Separately, officials said efforts to find the missing had so far uncovered 1,124 corpses in 873 clandestine burial pits.
The country’s National Search Commission said that in its first 13 months of work, only about one-third of the bodies found were identified and less than a quarter of the total had been returned to relatives.
The government has set up DNA databases to help identify bodies, but the majority of those found still go unidentified.
Drug and kidnapping gangs often use unmarked pits to dispose of the bodies of their victims or rivals.
The commission said about a third of the corpses it had found were located in just three of the country’s 31 states: the northern state of Sinaloa, the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and the Pacific coast state of Colima.
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Curfew in Peru as Mexico coronavirus cases near 500,000
UN chief Antonio Guterres warns the coronavirus pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting poverty and building peace, but also risks exacerbating old conflicts and generating new ones. President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, but the WHO says it does not have enough information to…
UN chief Antonio Guterres warns the coronavirus pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting poverty and building peace, but also risks exacerbating old conflicts and generating new ones.
President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, but the WHO says it does not have enough information to evaluate it.
Worldwide coronavirus cases have surpassed 20.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 12.7 million have recovered, and more than 745,000 have died,
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, August 13
09:30 GMT – Malaysia jails Indian man linked to fresh virus outbreak
A Malaysian court jailed an Indian man for five months for violating a home quarantine order, leading to dozens of new coronavirus infections, the Bernama state news agency reported.
The 57-year-old, who resides in Malaysia and owns a restaurant in the northern state of Kedah, pleaded guilty to four charges of violating a mandated 14-day home quarantine order upon his return from India in July.
He was also fined 12,000 ringgit ($2,864) by the Alor Setar Magistrate’s Court, which held a special hearing at a Kedah hospital where the accused was undergoing treatment, Bernama reported.
09:00 GMT – Hong Kong reports 69 new coronavirus cases
Hong Kong reported 69 new coronavirus cases, of which 65 were locally transmitted, as authorities cautioned the global financial hub still faced a critical period to control the virus, which has seen a resurgence since early July.
Since late January, more than 4,200 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 65 of whom have died. Thursday’s figure was up slightly from Wednesday’s 62 cases.
People wear surgical masks at a wet market at Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, China [File: Reuters]
08:30 GMT – Nearly 6% of people in England may have had COVID-19
Nearly 6 percent of people in England were likely infected with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic, researchers studying the prevalence of infections said, millions more people than have tested positive for the disease.
A total of 313,798 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Britain, 270,971 of which have been in England, or just 0.5 percent of the English population.
However, a study that tested more than 100,000 people across England for antibodies to the coronavirus showed that nearly 6 percent of people had them, suggesting that 3.4 million people had previously contracted COVID-19 by the end of the June.
Prevalence of infections appeared to be be highest in London, where 13 percent of people had antibodies, while minority ethnic groups were two to three times as likely to have had COVID-19 compared to white people.
08:15 GMT – Philippines reports 4,002 more infections, 23 deaths
The Philippines’ health ministry reported 4,002 more novel coronavirus infections and 23 additional deaths in the country.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines had risen to 147,526, the highest in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths had reached 2,426.
The Philippines plans to launch clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine in October after Russia became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, drawing safety concerns over the frantic pace of its development.
08:00 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases surpass 907,000
Russia reported 5,057 new cases of the novel coronavirus bringing its nationwide tally to 907,758, the fourth largest caseload in the world.
Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 124 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 15,384.
The United States, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries in the world.
Russia claims to have developed ‘first’ coronavirus vaccine
07:50 GMT – Thai scientists catch bats to trace virus origins
Researchers in Thailand have been trekking through the countryside to catch bats in their caves in an effort to help trace the origins of the coronavirus.
The closest match to the coronavirus has been found in horseshoe bats in Yunnan in southern China. Thailand has 19 species of horseshoe bats but researchers said they have not yet been tested for the new coronavirus.
The team from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Center took saliva, blood, and stool samples from the bats before releasing them.
The team was headed by Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, the centre’s deputy chief, who has studied bats and diseases associated with them for more than 20 years.
Supaporn said it is likely the researchers will find the same virus that causes COVID-19 in Thailand’s bats.
07:25 GMT – Limited testing? Researchers in Rwanda have an idea
Like many countries, Rwanda is finding it impossible to test each of its citizens for the coronavirus amid shortages of supplies. But researchers there have created an approach that is drawing attention beyond the African continent.
They are using an algorithm to refine the process of pooled testing, which tests batches of samples from groups of people and then tests each person individually only if a certain batch comes back positive for COVID-19. Pooled testing conserves scarce testing materials.
Brazil’s Parana state agrees to produce Russian vaccine
Rwanda’s mathematical approach, researchers say, makes that process more efficient. That is an advantage for developing countries with limited resources, where some people must wait several days for results. Longer waits mean a greater chance of unknowingly spreading the virus.
Those behind the algorithm have expressed pride that a potential solution to a dogged problem in the global crisis is coming from Africa.
07:15 GMT – Brazil state signs deal to make Russian vaccine
The Brazilian state of Parana signed a deal to test and produce Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine, though officials stressed they would have to be sure of its safety and effectiveness first.The vaccine would have to receive Brazilian regulatory approval and complete Phase 3 clinical trials, or large-scale testing in humans, before being produced in Brazil, said officials from the southern state.Production, if it goes ahead, would likely only start in the second half of 2021, said Jorge Callado, head of the state-run Parana Technology Institute, which signed the deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
06:55 GMT – Germany: Optimistic we’ll have a vaccine in coming months
German Health Minister Jens Spahn told ZDF television he expects there would be a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months and definitely next year.
“I’m optimistic that in the next months, and certainly in the next year, there can be a vaccine,” Spahn said.
He declined to give a specific month and said it was not yet possible to say how often people would need to be vaccinated or how long-lasting the immunity it conferred would be.
“But one thing we can say is that thanks to us all working together – researchers, scientists, the public – we will probably have a vaccine faster than ever before in the history of humanity.”
06:25 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases jump by 67,000 in daily record
India reported another record daily rise in novel coronavirus infections, while the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 47,000.
Infections grew by 66,999 on Thursday from a day earlier to reach a total of nearly 2.4 million to date, India’s health ministry said.
The country, with the world’s biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.
Infections in India have grown by 66,999 on Thursday from a day earlier [EPA]
06:00 GMT – Ukraine sees record daily high 1,592 new cases: security council
Ukraine recorded a record daily jump of 1,592 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the national council of security and defence said.
The number of infections has increased sharply in Ukraine in the past two months as authorities have eased some restrictions, allowing cafes, churches and public transport to reopen.
Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.
04:45 GMT – Passengers from mainland China to be allowed temporary transit through Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport said that passengers from mainland China would be able to transit through Hong Kong to other destinations from August 15 until October 15, in a boost for its dominant carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
Transit in the other direction, inbound to mainland China, will remain banned at a time when China’s aviation regulator has severely limited the number of international flights due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
04:05 GMT – TUI agrees new 1.2 billion euro aid package
Tourism giant TUI and the German government have agreed to a second massive aid package to bolster the firm through its winter 2020/21 season.
The Hanover-based company agreed to a 1.2 billion euro ($1.4bn) package with German public lender KfW on Wednesday. The new funds add to the 1.8 billion-euro government loan that the company agreed to in April.
CEO Fritz Joussen said while the group had already introduced “massive” cost reductions, “no one knows when a vaccine or medication will be available and what effects the pandemic will have in individual markets in the coming months”.
US schools starting to reopen
“Therefore it is right and important to take further precautions together with the German government.”
03:21 GMT – Close adviser to Venezuela’s president has coronavirus
Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s communications minister and close adviser to President Nicolas Maduro said he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“Even though I am in good general condition, I must comply with the isolation measures and the necessary care in order to overcome the virus,” Rodriguez said on Twitter.
Venezuela’s Communications and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez (left) said he was in ‘good general condition’ [File: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters]
02:49 GMT – Argentina, Mexico to produce AstraZeneca vaccine
Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for most of Latin America, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez after a meeting with company executives involved in the project.
An agreement signed between British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the biotechnology company mAbxience of the INSUD Group includes transfer of technology to initially produce 150 million doses of the vaccine to supply all of Latin America with the exception of Brazil, according to the Argentine government.
“Latin American production will be handled in Argentina and Mexico and that will allow timely and efficient access for all countries in the region,” Fernandez said.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said later on Twitter that the deal had been pushed by Fernandez and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He said output of the vaccine could extend to 250 million doses.
WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts (4:07)
02:17 GMT – NFL Union, league agree to daily testing through September 5
National Football League (NFL) players in the US can expect daily COVID-19 testing through September 5, the players’ union said in advance of the season kick-off next month.
The league has conducted 109,075 COVID-19 tests among players, staff and coaches since the start of training camps through Tuesday, NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills told reporters, with an overall positive rate 0.46 percent and a positive rate among players of 0.81 percent.
A total of 53 new positives were confirmed among players upon their intake into training camp last month.
“Our goal is all the same: to have the safest possible environment for everyone,” said Sills. “We want to try to ensure that there’s no one – player, coach, staff member, official, anyone – who steps onto a field with an active COVID infection.”
02:04 GMT – New Zealand logs 14 new cases
New Zealand reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, of which 13 were locally transmitted infections, as officials scrambled to trace the source of the country’s first outbreak in more than 100 days.
There are now a total of 36 active cases in the country.
“We can see the seriousness of the situation we are in,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a televised media conference, noting that experience showed “things will get worse before they get better”.
More cases were likely to be reported in coming days, she said.
Officials said all of the 13 locally transmitted infections were linked to the four Auckland family members in whom the latest outbreak was first detected. Three of the new cases were at a refrigerator storage facility, where one of the family members worked.
A health worker conducts a test at a COVID-19 coronavirus testing centre in the suburb of Northcote in Auckland on August 12, 2020 [David Rowland/ AFP]
01:48 GMT – Disney World actors ready to work after testing dispute resolved
Walt Disney World actors, who argued that the US theme park’s proposed coronavirus safeguards were inadequate to protect them, have resolved a dispute about COVID-19 testing, according to a union statement.
The Actors’ Equity Association had called on Walt Disney Co to provide regular coronavirus testing for its members, who cannot wear protective masks while performing as other park employees do.
Disney said on Wednesday that it would provide space just outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for a testing site run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The site will be open to Disney employees, known as cast members, and the public.
Walt Disney World Update – @Disney has announced that it is providing space for testing in the parks, including for Equity performers within Walt Disney World. With that, Equity’s executive committee has signed off on the MOU with Disney permitting our performers to return. pic.twitter.com/5FZwZt0org
— Actors’ Equity (@ActorsEquity) August 12, 2020
01:35 GMT – Australia on course for lowest one-day rise in three weeks
Australia was poised to post its lowest one-day rise in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks on Thursday, stoking hopes that a second wave of new infections gripping Victoria state is finally being brought under control.
Victoria reported 278 new infections in the past 24 hours, down from 410 a day earlier.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales reported 12 new cases, while Queensland state said it had found no new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours.
Barring a large rise in cases from states that have effectively eliminated the virus, that means Australia’s total of 290 cases would be the lowest one-day rise in new coronavirus cases since July 20.
Australian authorities cautiously welcomed the decline.
“I think we have to wait and see what happens over the coming week just to make sure that downward slope continues over the days ahead,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told Australia’s Channel 9.
Nearly five million people in Melbourne have been confined to their homes except for essential reasons for nearly a month [James Ross/ AAP via Reuters]
01:19 GMT – Mexico’s confirmed cases almost at 500,000
Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,858 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 737 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 498,380 cases and 54,666 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
00:58 GMT – UN chief says pandemic threatens peace and risks new conflicts
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the COVID-19 pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting global poverty and building peace but risks exacerbating existing conflicts and “fomenting new ones”.
The UN chief told a Security Council meeting a number of warring parties took steps to de-escalate and stop fighting following his March 23 call for an immediate ceasefire in conflicts around the world to tackle the coronavirus.
“Yet, regrettably, in many instances, the pandemic did not move the parties to suspend hostilities or agree to a permanent ceasefire,” Guterres said.
The pandemic has also raised growing questions about the effectiveness of health systems, social services, trust in institutions and systems of governance, he said.
“All of this means that our commitment to sustaining peace is more urgent than ever.”
The UN chief also warned that “without concerted action, inequalities, global poverty and the potential for instability and violence could grow for years”.
00:37 GMT – Peru to return to total curfew on Sundays
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced the return of a total curfew on Sundays in response to a new surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
“We want and think that it is better to go back one step so that we are all responsible again for recovering the conditions that we would all like to have,” he said.
The national curfew will prohibit gatherings of family and friends.
Peru’s government has reported more than 489,000 infections, with an average of more than 7,000 new cases per day, and the highest death rate per million in the Americas, above Chile, the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
00:24 GMT – England’s revamped contact-tracing app to begin public trials
A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday, according to the BBC.
The software will be modelled after Apple and Google’s privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another, BBC said, adding that engineers were still trying to reduce how often the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flags people as being within two metres (6.6ft) of each other.
The app will also let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits.
Shoppers walk past social distancing signs following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in London [File: Toby Melville/ Reuters]
00:14 GMT – White House, Democrats trade blame over aid deadlock
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of President Donald Trump’s top negotiators with Democrats on US coronavirus aid, tried to shift blame for a five-day lapse in talks back on House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Mnuchin disputed a statement from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that said Republicans had invited more talks but refused to budge from their initial offer of a $1 trillion response.
He said Pelosi “made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion”.
Sticking points between the two sides include the size of an extended unemployment benefit, aid to state and local governments, money for schools to reopen and other issues.
Congress has already approved about $3 trillion in assistance for families, hospitals, healthcare workers, state and local governments, vaccine research and testing.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday found that Americans divide blame pretty evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the key developments from yesterday, August 12, go here.
Mexico City to increase coronavirus tests: Live updates |NationalTribune.com
The United States may see 200,000 deaths because of the coronavirus at some point in September, Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, said in an interview with CNN, while total US coronavirus cases surpassed two million with over 113,000 deaths. Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK’s coronavirus strategy,…
The United States may see 200,000 deaths because of the coronavirus at some point in September, Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, said in an interview with CNN, while total US coronavirus cases surpassed two million with over 113,000 deaths.
Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK’s coronavirus strategy, says that the country’s death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths.
Students’ mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year.
More than 7.36 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 416,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, June 11
06:00 GMT – Pakistani government downplays WHO warning on coronavirus spread
Pakistan’s defacto health minister has downplayed a World Health Organisation warning to the country on reimposing a lockdown in order to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Zafar Mirza issued a statement on Wednesday saying “we have made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods”.
Pakistan registered 5,834 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, a new single-day record, taking its countrywide tally to 119,536 cases. The total death toll in the country is at 2,356.
05:21 GMT – Arrests made over alleged body-snatching incidents in Indonesia
Indonesian authorities have arrested dozens of people suspected of snatching the bodies of COVID-19 victims from several hospitals so the dead could be buried according to their wishes.
Provincial police spokesman Ibrahim Tompo said that at least 33 suspects have been detained by police in South Sulawesi province in the past week. Ponto said charges against 10 of them will proceed to prosecutors.
He says if convicted, the suspects face up to seven years in prison and $7,000 in fines for violating health laws and resisting officers.
Indonesia has reported at least 34,316 cases and 1,923 coronavirus-related deaths in the country.
04:45 GMT – Thailand reports no new coronavirus cases, no new deaths
Thailand on Thursday reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, maintaining the total of 3,125 confirmed cases and 58 fatalities, according to Reuters news agency.
It was the first time in nearly three weeks that no cases were reported and the 17th day without a local transmission. All recent cases have been found in quarantine among Thais returning from abroad.
There are 2,987 patients who have recovered, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government’s COVID-19 Administration Centre.
04:01 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise 555 to 185,416
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 555 to 185,416, data obtained by Reuters from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,755, the tally showed.
03:51 GMT – Italian nurses demand better pay, more manpower
Dozens of hospital nurses have protested in downtown Milan to demand better pay and the hiring of more colleagues, AP news agency reported.
Nurses have been hailed as Italy’s heroes during the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. But organisers of the protest noted that nurses in Italy are among the lowest paid in Europe.
Recently, three nurses, including one who collapsed on a keyboard from exhaustion while caring for infected patients, were among those honoured by the Italian president for special service to the nation. At least 40 nurses with the virus have died in Italy. The country reported more than 235,000 cases and at least 34,000 deaths.
Nurses belonging to the NurSind union hold up signs with writing in Italian: “We honour our fallen in the fight against COVID-19” as they stage a protest calling for better working conditions in Milan on Wednesday [Luca Bruno/AP]
03:23 GMT – Puerto Rico eyes lifting of quarantine restrictions
As Puerto Rico considers lifting pandemic quarantine restrictions, health officials say the US territory passed its peak of coronavirus cases and related deaths more than two months ago. However, independent experts said those numbers are in doubt.
Health Department consultant Miguel Valencia said at a news conference that Puerto Rico’s confirmed COVID-19 cases peaked at 84 cases on March 31 and deaths at six on April 6. Overall, Puerto Rico has reported more than 5,300 cases and at least 143 deaths on the island of 3.2 million people.
02:50 GMT – Japan eyes partial reopening to business trips this summer
Japan has an estimated 17,146 coronavirus infections and 922 fatalities [Franck Robichon/EPA]
Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand as early this summer, easing an entry ban to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday quoting the Yomiuri newspaper.
Up to 250 business travellers a day will most likely be allowed into Japan from the four countries, which have seen their infection situations stabilise, the newspaper said, without citing sources.
Prospective visitors will be required to submit a document ahead of their trips to Japan showing they are not infected, and will be asked to go through a PCR, or polymerase chain reaction test, upon entry, the paper said.
In another step to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, the Tokyo metropolitan government is set to lift the “Tokyo alert” issued last week to urge residents to keep up their guard as early as the end of the week, the Nikkei business daily said. The number of daily new infections in Tokyo has stayed below 20 for the past four days.
02:31 GMT – South Korea reports 45 new infections
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thurday 45 new coronavirus cases, including 40 local infections – a slight decrease from 50 the previous day.
The total caseload in the country now stands at 11,947, with a total of 10,654 considered recovered, according to Yonhap news agency quoting the country’s health agency.
The total death tally remained unchanged at 276, with the fatality rate reaching 2.31 percent.
02:07 GMT – China reports 11 imported coronavirus cases
China has reported a small spike in imported confirmed cases of coronavirus to 11. There were no new deaths or cases of local transmission in Thursday’s report.
Chinese officials say just 62 people remain in treatment for COVID-19. In addition, 130 people are under observation and isolation for showing signs of the illness or testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms, as a safeguard against them possibly spreading it to others.
China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 – a figure that has not changed in weeks – among 83,057 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central industrial city of Wuhan late last year.
01:25 GMT – Latin America hits 70,000 pandemic deaths, daily record in Mexico
Latin America’s coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections.
Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America’s most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world’s third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.
In the region’s second biggest country, Mexico, a new daily record of 4,883 confirmed cases was reported by the health ministry, along with 708 additional fatalities. The daily totals bring Mexico’s overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths.
00:01 GMT – Mexico City to increase COVID-19 testing defying national government
Medical staff protest in Acapulco against the non-payment of the COVID-19 bond for the healthcare workers looking after those infected by the virus [David Guzman/EPA]
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says the capital will embark on a large-scale COVID-19 testing effort as the centrepiece of its plan to reopen its economy, diverging from the federal government’s strategy, which has shunned widespread testing as a waste of resources.
The goal will be performing some 100,000 tests a month by July and will use the results to detect and isolate new clusters of infection as quickly as possible, Sheinbaum said in a news conference. It will be paired with an intensive information campaign.
The sprawling city of nine million – with an equal number or more in the suburbs – has confirmed more than 32,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 3,200 deaths, both considered to be undercounted because of limited testing. Nationwide, there were more than 129,000 cases and 15,357 deaths as of the end of Wednesday.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (June 10) here.
Mexico women protest after gruesome killing of Ingrid Escamilla
Dozens of activists flocked to Mexico’s presidential palace on Friday to protest against violence against women, chanting “not one murder more” and splashing one of its large, ornate doors with blood-red paint and the words “femicide state”. The heated Valentine’s Day demonstration, led by women, stemmed from outrage in recent days over the killing of…
Dozens of activists flocked to Mexico’s presidential palace on Friday to protest against violence against women, chanting “not one murder more” and splashing one of its large, ornate doors with blood-red paint and the words “femicide state”.
The heated Valentine’s Day demonstration, led by women, stemmed from outrage in recent days over the killing of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla in Mexico City and the publication of graphic photos of her mutilated corpse in newspapers.
One protester spray painted “INGRID” in tall pink letters on another palace door in tribute. Many participants noted that her death was only the latest example in a wave of brutal murders of women that have been dubbed “femicides”.
Ingrid Escamilla murder: Mexican social media users express shock
Mexico confronts surge in violence against women
How can Mexico break the cycle of violence?
An average of 10 women are killed a day in Mexico, and last year marked a new overall homicide record, official data show.
“It’s not just Ingrid. There are thousands of femicides,” said Lilia Florencio Guerrero, whose daughter was violently killed in 2017. “It fills us with anger and rage.”
She called on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was inside the palace as the protests continued, to do more to stop the violence.
Others graffitied slogans including “they are killing us” on the building’s walls and ejected bright flames from cans of flammable spray paint.
Demonstrators standing in front of presidential palace doors with words reading, ‘Ingrid’ and ‘femicide state’ in downtown Mexico City, Mexico [Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters]
Inside the stately palace, where Lopez Obrador lives with his family, the president attempted to reassure the activists during his morning news conference.
“I’m not burying my head in the sand … The government I represent will always take care of ensuring the safety of women,” he said, without detailing new plans.
Protesters also admonished the newspapers that published photos of Escamilla’s corpse, chanting, “the press is complicit”.
La Prensa, a newspaper that ran the gruesome image on its cover, defended its record of reporting on crime and murder, subjects it said the government prefers to keep quiet. The paper also said it was open to discussion on adjusting its standards beyond legal requirements.
“We understand today that it hasn’t been sufficient, and we’ve entered a process of deeper review,” the paper said in a front-page statement on Friday.
Newspaper Pasala had filled nearly its entire tabloid cover with the photo, under the Valentine’s Day-themed headline: “It was cupid’s fault”. The cover sparked anger not only at the gory display, but also the jocular tone over a crime for which Escamilla’s domestic partner has been arrested.
Pasala editors did not respond to requests for comment.
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