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If you want to forget about covid-19 visit Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Feb 21 (EFE) .- With a year of pandemic in tow, it is impossible to get rid of the constant flow of information about covid-19 and keep the disease in mind almost constantly, but if someone wants to forget the coronavirus, visit Haiti is a place where it can be done. To begin with, the incidence of the disease is really low: since the beginning of the pandemic, 12,274 cases and 247 deaths have been confirmed, with a fatality of 2.01%, according to the latest official figures. That is in a country with a population of about eleven million inhabitants who for months have been living their lives as if covid-19 did not exist. LIVING WITH YOUR BACK TO THE PANDEMIC Since the Government decreed the reopening of the country at the end of last June, after a three-month confinement, the disease has not again conditioned the routines of Haitians, who walk around without a mask and do not deprive themselves of agglomerations. Proof of this is the Pétion Ville market, in the capital, where very few people wear masks, despite a level of tightness such that when a four-wheeler passes some vendors must move part of the merchandise displayed in the ground, resulting in an undesirable level of friction between pedestrians, at least in the midst of the pandemic. WHY IS THERE A FEW CONTAGES? The low incidence could be a reason for study for the scientific community, although for the infectologist Jean William Pape, co-chair of the multisectoral commission for the management of covid-19 in Haiti, the explanation is that, “probably, most of the people already has encountered the infection “and” are protected. For this reason, “the cases are not increasing exponentially,” the doctor told Efe, ruling out that there is or will be a second wave of the disease in the country, although he pointed out that recently “there has been an increase in cases” from the traveling population sector. “Without a doubt, there are also community broadcasts. But what we have seen the most is people who have the opportunity to travel and who have children who have returned to Haiti from the United States and Europe. They are people who belong to a more affluent class” and you have not taken precautions. The United Nations office in Haiti highlighted in its latest report that the impact of the pandemic on the health of the Haitian population continues to be less than initially expected. However, the report emphasizes, this does not prevent the effects of COVID-19 on the world economy from worsening the already desperate socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Haiti. A COUNTRY DELIVERED TO THE CARNIVAL On the other hand, the detection of the virus does not seem a priority in the country, if it is taken into account that the free health care centers where tests are carried out did not treat patients for several days in the last week on account of the carnival, as Efe was able to verify when visiting one of them. In fact, the Carnival was celebrated in Haiti in style and several cities in the country enjoyed the rare privilege of organizing one of the most massive carnival parties in the world this year. While Rio de Janeiro, Venice or the Canary Islands closed their doors to costume parties, the Haitian cities of Jacmel (south) or Port-de-Paix (north) were boiling, with massive crowds in which he participated and danced until President Jovenel Moise. THE CRISIS THAT DIMENSES COVID The other great reason for not hearing about covid-19 in Port-au-Prince is the serious political and security crisis that the country is going through, aggravated since last February 7 the Government denounced that the opposition he was organizing a coup. Faced with this situation, and with the opposition dedicated to promoting mobilizations, the streets of Port-au-Prince have received daily protests demanding the departure of President Moise from power, demonstrations that some days can gather thousands of people and turn violent. One issue, that of violence, which also diverts attention from the health issue, especially if one takes into account the exorbitant number of kidnappings that take place in the country. According to estimates by the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) there are currently more than five kidnappings a day, the director of the organization, Mary Rosy Auguste Ducéna, told Efe. A worrying panorama that encourages people to forget the mere existence of covid-19. (c) EFE Agency

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