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WHO warns Europe case surge ‘of great concern’
At a press conference in Copenhagen, the WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters it was time to “step up the measures” as rising case numbers on the continent were of “great concern,” AFP reports.
But he said the situation was not as bad as the peak in March and April, and stressed that full-on lockdowns “where every corner of our society and economy has been halted” should be avoided.
“The collateral damage on the people was too much,” he said, encouraging governments not to “hold back with relatively smaller actions”.
People’s mental health, the risk of domestic violence and children’s education should all be taken into consideration, he added.
Britain hopes a local three-tier system will fit the bill, with London heading into level two at the weekend and northwestern city Liverpool the only area in the top level, with strict limits on social mixing including the closure of pubs.
In France, police searched the home of Health Minister Olivier Veran, one of several current or former ministers being probed following complaints by victims of Covid-19 that they were slow to act to check its spread.
The action came after France announced a virus shutdown between 9 pm and 6 am in Paris and other hotspot cities that will remain for as long as six weeks.
In neighbouring Spain, bars and restaurants will close across the northeastern region of Catalonia for the next 15 days, while Germany said daily infections have reached levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest pandemic news for the next few hours, as France’s new infections set a 24-hour record, rising above 30,000 for the first time since the start of the epidemic.
Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
European countries have unveiled tough new measures to try to curb a surge in coronavirus infections which the World Health Organization warned Thursday is of “great concern”.
- The UK government’s flagship policy for tackling the coronavirus in England descended into chaos after mayors and MPs from the north-west of the country emphatically rejected being moved into the highest lockdown level and accused ministers of treating the region with contempt.
- Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as Catalonia prepared to shut down bars and restaurants in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
- Germany’s foreign ministry has warned against non-essential travel to France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia from Saturday due to high coronavirus infection rates.
- Europe has recorded its highest ever weekly number of new Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization has said, warning that without effective countermeasures daily death rates could reach four or five times their April peak within months.
- More than half of countries in the EU, plus the UK, were on Thursday labelled red in a new map issued by the bloc’s disease control agency aimed at guiding decisions on travel restrictions. The map was issued after EU member states decided on Tuesday to coordinate their approach to travel restrictions on other countries in response to Covid-19 outbreaks.
- As Switzerland sees record high Covid-19 infection numbers on a daily basis, the health minister warned Thursday that the situation is “deteriorating” at an alarming rate.
- US president Donald Trump on Thursday said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a Covid-19 relief package to get a deal with House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a move likely to raise concern among his fellow Republicans in the Senate.
- Italy’s coronavirus infections reached 8,804 on Thursday, up by almost 1,500 in a day, while deaths almost doubled to 83. Daily records were registered in Lombardy, where there were over 2,000 new cases, Campania and Piedmont. Cases in the southern Campania region, which was relatively unscathed by the first wave of the pandemic, eclipsed 1,000 in a day for the first time.
- The Czech Republic will start building capacity for Covid-19 patients outside of hospitals, officials said on Thursday, as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe.
- The president of the European Commission says she is going into self-isolation with immediate effect after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.
Source: The Guardian
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