COVID-19: European Union tightens restrictions

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The European Union called on its member states on Thursday to toughen their control measures "immediately" in the face of new outbreaks of the COVID-19 epidemic, the day after the announcement of new restrictions in France where the number of contaminations is beating high. records.

Increased testing and tracing through reinforced health surveillance and sufficient hospital capacity, all states must deploy immediate and timely measures at the first signs of potential new outbreaks, said European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

In some states, the situation is now worse than the peak (of the epidemic) in March. This is a cause for concern, she added.

On Friday, Belgium must announce the end of the travel ban with European areas classified as red, which nevertheless remain strictly not recommended.

More than five million people have been infected in Europe, and the European agency responsible for monitoring epidemics reported Thursday of its great concern for seven EU countries, including Spain, which is due to announce on Friday the extension of movement restrictions to other areas in the Madrid region.

These states (Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Malta) show a higher proportion of severe cases or hospitalization, with an increase in mortality already observed or who could be soon, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) worried.

Government decision denounced in France

In France, faced with a rise in the incidence rate of the virus, the metropolis of Aix-Marseille and Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, have been placed in maximum alert zone.

Bars and restaurants will be closed there from Saturday. Others establishments open to the public will also be closed, except those that have a strict sanitary protocol, such as theaters, museums and cinemas.

Eleven other metropolises, including Paris, have been placed in enhanced alert zone, which for example leads to the closing of bars from 10 p.m. and the restriction of alcohol sales.

Catering professionals have denounced a unfair decision.

France has registered 16,096 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours, a record since the start of large-scale testing.

If we do not act, we could find ourselves in a situation close to that of spring. It could mean reconfinement.

Germany is also on the alert in the face of a resurgence of contaminations.

Bavaria is particularly affected and has decided to tighten its restrictions in Munich, where wearing a mask in part of the city center has been compulsory since Thursday. Similar measure in Italy, in the Naples region.

In the United Kingdom, the most bereaved country on the European continent with 42,000 dead, new restrictions came into force on Thursday: pubs and restaurants, in which only table service will be allowed, must close from 10 p.m. in England and teleworking will again be encouraged.

On the first evening of this curfew, the clients of Prince George, in the lively London district of Dalston, are doing nothing but bad luck in the face of these measures which they believe ridiculous and too late. Wash your hands before you come in, you filthy beasts : the tone is set from the entrance panel.

The measures taken by several European countries reflect the authorities' concern at the increase in the number of patients. A total of 5,060,966 cases have been identified in Europe, of which 227,862 have been fatal.

Worldwide, the pandemic has killed at least 978,448 people since the end of December, according to a report established Thursday by AFP.

In Israel, from Friday at 2 p.m., synagogues will be closed, except for Yom Kippur, the day of forgiveness, celebrated Sunday evening and Monday. Only the work sectors judged essential will continue to exercise and outdoor demonstrations and prayers will be limited to 20 people and less than one kilometer from home.

Clinical trial for a vaccine

On the vaccine side, the US biotech company Novavax announced on Thursday that it had started a final phase clinical trial in the UK of its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 which aims to include 10,000 participants aged 18 to 84 .

New York State does not trust to the Trump administration and will recheck the reliability of vaccines validated by Washington before distributing them to its 20 million inhabitants, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

For its part, the British royalty anticipates financial difficulties because of the coronavirus with a shortfall linked to the drop in attendance at royal residences by 15 million pounds over the next three years.

And as no one is spared from the coronavirus, AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been placed in his home in quarantine after testing positive. COVID had the courage to challenge me. Bad idea, tweeted the proud Swede of almost 39 years.


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