Coronavirus: the responsibility of governments already in question around the world

President Donald Trump on Wednesday March 18. The issue of the coronavirus could weigh in the next American election. AFP Photos / Getty Images North America / Alex Wong

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Confinement too late, lack of tests, minimization of the severity of the pandemic: the discontent rises against governments accused of not having sufficiently protected their populations, at a time when the coronavirus now affects almost the whole world.


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" There is not enough money, not enough tests, not enough protective equipment [...] everyone in the hospital is enormously exposed ", denounces Andrew, a psychiatric intern in New -York. On both sides of the Atlantic, the influx of sick people in hospitals with insufficient space and the shortage of protective equipment are at the heart of criticism in countries where the deaths from the coronavirus number in the thousands.

The management of the authorities upstream of the epidemic is pinned all over the world, in Spain, in the United Kingdom, in France for its shortage of masks, in the United States or in China.

In France, a parliamentary information mission

As of March 6, the International Journal of Medicine (JIM) wondered in a forum about " suspicions of unpreparedness " which " are increasing " in France.

At that time when only two deaths were recorded in the country, the article already pointed to " worrying " situations of shortage of FFP2 masks evoking the "denial" of the authorities. A fact -finding mission on the Covid-19 epidemic begins its work this Wednesday, April 1 at the National Assembly, and the question of masks will be central. " The time will come for responsibility, this time will come, it is legitimate and democratic ", recognized French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, calling on everyone to show " humility ".

► Read also: France is accelerating its production of respirators and masks

In the United States, a sanction in the ballot boxes?

At the end of this crisis, the threat of a sanction of governments at the ballot box could therefore become a reality.

Starting with the United States, which must elect its president at the end of the year. " It is too early to draw conclusions, but this crisis could do more harm than good to Trump. His management was slow and clumsy, "said Charles Kupchan, who teaches international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington.

► Read also: " This crisis reveals the shortcomings of the American health system "

In China, the lack of transparency denounced

Voices are also raised in China to denounce the total lack of transparency of the authorities on the actual assessment of this epidemic, raising fears of a figure much higher than the 3,300 deaths announced.

The images of long queues of residents picking up the ashes of their loved ones who disappeared in front of the crematoriums of Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, raised many questions on social networks , noted our correspondent a few days ago in Beijing, Stéphane Lagarde .

" The lack of information at the start of the spread of the virus by China had an even greater impact than the underestimation of the balance sheet, " said Charles Kupchan.

Towards legal proceedings ?

But beyond the political fate of the rulers, the question of legal proceedings is also beginning to emerge. In France, complaints have been filed against members of the government for manslaughter. " The multiplication of appeals is a sign that citizens remain vigilant, " points out constitutionalist Dominique Rousseau, even if the chances of succeeding in these procedures remain slim, according to several magistrates.

One question fuels the debate: was it possible to take drastic measures of containment earlier? A delicate mission in a democracy without the support of a large part of the population.

(with AFP )

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