Europe steps up mea­sures as COVID-19 cases spike

Ger­many has de­clared 11 Euro­pean risk zones while Spain put the cap­i­tal Madrid, its in­fec­tion hot spot, un­der lock­down in a bid to curb the spread of the coro­n­avirus

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - IS­TAN­BUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AGEN­CIES

AMID Europe’s dra­matic virus uptick, fear is ris­ing just as fast as the sec­ond COVID-19 wave, forc­ing many coun­tries to con­sider re­turn­ing to lock­downs with strict re­stric­tions. While France, the U.K. and Spain logged record daily in­creases in coro­n­avirus cases, Bel­gium, one of Europe’s worst-hit coun­tries, passed the mile­stone of 10,000 deaths. The cen­tral Span­ish gov­ern­ment im­posed new re­stric­tions, putting Madrid un­der lock­down de­spite op­po­si­tion by the re­gional gov­ern­ment. Health Min­is­ter Sal­vador Illa pub­lished the or­der in the of­fi­cial gazette yes­ter­day. The cap­i­tal city has 735 cases per 100,000 peo­ple, one of the high­est of any re­gion in Europe and dou­ble Spain’s na­tional rate. From now on, larger cities with more than 500 new in­fec­tions per 100,000 in­hab­i­tants within two weeks, where at least 10% of coro­n­avirus test re­sults are pos­i­tive and where more than 35% of hos­pi­tal in­ten­sive care beds are oc­cu­pied by COVID-19 pa­tients, are to be placed un­der lock­down.

MEA­SURES, which in­clude more se­vere so­cial dis­tanc­ing and re­stric­tions on move­ment, cur­rently ap­ply to Madrid and nine other cities in the cap­i­tal re­gion, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial gazette. Madrid’s re­gional leader En­rique Ruiz Es­cud­ero, how­ever, an­nounced he would not im­ple­ment the or­der be­cause it is il­le­gal, daily El Pais re­ported.

In Ger­many, due to the high num­ber of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions, the gov­ern­ment on Wed­nes­day clas­si­fied in­di­vid­ual re­gions in 11 Euro­pean coun­tries in­clud­ing all of Bel­gium, Ice­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land as high-risk ar­eas. It also lifted a blan­ket travel warn­ing in place dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic for a to­tal of 160 coun­tries out­side the Euro­pean Union. Each na­tion in the world will now be as­sessed in­di­vid­u­ally.

Along with Wales and North­ern Ire­land, Ger­many’s dis­ease con­trol body, the Robert Koch In­sti­tute (RKI), in­cluded Bri­tain in its health warn­ings for the first time in the pan­demic. French

re­gions Pays de la Loire and Bur­gundy were also named. For the first time, ar­eas in the Baltic coun­tries of Lithua­nia and Es­to­nia were named and re­gions in Ire­land, Croa­tia, Slove­nia, Hun­gary and Ro­ma­nia were also added.

VIRUS OUT OF CON­TROL IN UK

In Bri­tain, health ex­perts warned yes­ter­day that the coro­n­avirus is out of con­trol as case num­bers and hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions rise de­spite a slew of new re­stric­tions on so­cial gath­er­ings. “Things are def­i­nitely head­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion,” U.K. chief sci­en­tific ad­viser Pa­trick Val­lance said at a gov­ern­ment press con­fer­ence, as a fur­ther 7,108 cases and 71 deaths were re­ported.

Bri­tain has re­ported some 450,000 coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions since March. Its of­fi­cial death toll linked to COVID-19 is more than 42,000, Europe’s high­est to­tal. There was a 61% in­crease in pos­i­tive COVID-19 cases in Eng­land’s lat­est weekly data, with more than four times the num­ber of in­fec­tions recorded as there were at the end of Au­gust, the

health ser­vice’s test and trace scheme said yes­ter­day.

In the Nether­lands, the Dutch gov­ern­ment’s sta­tis­tics of­fice said the death toll from the peak of the coro­n­avirus out­break is sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the of­fi­cial fig­ures pub­lished by the coun­try’s pub­lic health in­sti­tute. The Cen­tral Bureau for Sta­tis­tics re­ported Thurs­day that just over 10,000 peo­ple died of COVID-19 in March through June this year as the first wave of the pan­demic swept across the na­tion. The of­fi­cial to­tal for the en­tire out­break stands at around 6,400, but the pub­lic health in­sti­tute has al­ways ac­knowl­edged that it in­cludes only peo­ple who died af­ter a pos­i­tive coro­n­avirus test and that many peo­ple died with­out be­ing tested.

IN­DIA’S WORST MONTH

The num­ber of cases world­wide has soared past 32 mil­lion, with deaths sur­pass­ing 1 mil­lion, and the global econ­omy has been dev­as­tated and ma­jor cul­tural and sports events have been dis­rupted. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) warned last week the prospect of an­other mil­lion deaths was not unimag­in­able if coun­tries and in­di­vid­u­als do not come to­gether to tackle the cri­sis. The United States has suf­fered the most deaths, with 206,005, fol­lowed by Brazil with 142,921, In­dia with 97,497 and Mex­ico with 77,163.

In­dia yes­ter­day re­ported 86,821 new coro­n­aviruses cases and an­other 1,181 fa­tal­i­ties, mak­ing Septem­ber its worst month of the pan­demic. The Health Min­istry’s up­date for the past 24 hours raised In­dia’s to­tal to more than 6.3 mil­lion peo­ple in­fected and 98,678 dead from COVID-19. In­dia added 41% of its con­firmed cases and 34% of fa­tal­i­ties in Septem­ber alone.

In­dia is ex­pected to be­come the pan­demic’s worst-hit coun­try within weeks, sur­pass­ing the U.S., where more than 7.2 mil­lion peo­ple have been in­fected. The gov­ern­ment an­nounced fur­ther eas­ing of re­stric­tions to start Oct. 15. Cin­e­mas, the­aters and mul­ti­plexes can open with up to 50% seat­ing ca­pac­ity and swim­ming pools can also be used by ath­letes in train­ing.

A health worker gives the re­sults of a COVID-19 anti­gen test to a woman in Madrid, Spain, Sept. 30, 2020.

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