Draconian measures in Europe in the face of the second wave

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Draconian measures went into effect in Europe on Saturday in hopes of stemming the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New contaminations jumped 44% this week on the continent, but decreased in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, according to an AFP count.

The World Health Organization (WHO) judges the European situation very worrying .

In France, the number of infections with the new coronavirus reached a new record on Saturday, with more than 32,000 contaminations in 24 hours, while the number of patients in intensive care continued to increase, according to official figures.

The inhabitants of a dozen large cities including Paris and its suburbs – 20 million people in total – have been subject since Saturday to a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for at least four weeks.

The country has one of the worst records in Europe, with more than 33,300 dead and 834,770 cases.

Curfews in large and small towns

In addition to the capital, the metropolitan areas of Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne, Aix-Marseille, Rouen and Grenoble are concerned. But also small towns.

Here there is never a crowd in the street: in Gréasque, a small Provencal town of around 4,000 souls, residents are surprised to have to submit to a curfew on Saturday evening, as in 89 other municipalities in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis.

My clients couldn't believe it: they thought it would only be for Aix and Marseille … but no!, says Isabelle Leclerc, 50, whose bakery overlooks the square.

A woman wearing a mask walks down the middle of Oxford Street in London.

New health measures have been decreed in Great Britain.

Photo: AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS

In the United Kingdom, the most bereaved country in Europe (43,429 dead, 15,000 new cases on Friday), the authorities have also tightened restrictions.

All of England (over 55 million people) already limited meetings to six people (indoors and outdoors) and closed its bars at 10 p.m.

But since Saturday, more than half of the English population has been subject to tougher restrictions: London and several other areas, or 11 million people, have banned indoor gatherings between family and friends from different homes, and Lancashire (north -west) and Liverpool are on maximum health alert (no meeting between different households indoors or outdoors, closing of pubs not serving meals).

In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants closed for a month on Friday and school holidays were extended.

Germans invited to stay at home

In Germany, which recorded 7,830 new cases in 24 hours – a record for the country – Angela Merkel solemnly asked her fellow citizens on Saturday to reduce their social relations as much as possible.

Give up any trip that is not really necessary, any celebration that is not really necessary. Please stay home, said the Chancellor. What winter will be, what our Christmas will be, will be decided in the days and weeks to come.

New restrictions are also coming into force in Warsaw and other large cities in Poland: middle and high schools will be closed to practice distance education, restaurants will have to close at 9 p.m., wedding ceremonies will be prohibited and the number of people allowed in. shops, public transport and religious services limited.

A caregiver at a screening center in Prague.

A caregiver at a screening center in Prague.

Photo: AFP / MICHAL CIZEK

In the Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infections and deaths per 100,000 mainland residents, the government has asked the military to build a 500-bed field hospital outside of Prague.

The country of 10.7 million people recorded 11,105 new cases on Friday alone – its third daily record in a row.

Worldwide, all indicators are red: at least 1,105,691 deaths and nearly 39.4 million infections have been identified since the start of the pandemic, according to a count made on Saturday by AFP. For Friday alone, 6,118 deaths and 403,629 new cases were recorded.

Record of contamination in Italy

Italy, already hard hit in the spring, reported 10,010 new cases on Friday, its all-time high.

Lombardy (north), the region of Milan, is the most affected. All its bars and restaurants will close at midnight from Saturday and amateur sports activities are suspended, at least until November 6.

Campania (south-west), the region of Naples, had already decided to close its schools this week and to ban funeral parties and processions.

In Belgium, from Monday evening, a curfew will be in place from midnight to 5 a.m., and cafes and restaurants will have to close for at least a month. The country has just passed the 200,000 case mark, after passing 100,000 on September 20, and its hospitals are overcrowded.

Week after week, the numbers are doubling, they are skyrocketing (…) it's an exponential increase, justified Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, while Belgium is one of the most bereaved countries in relation to its population (10,359 dead for 11.5 million inhabitants).

Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès announced a test on Saturday positive to COVID-19.

A vaccine soon to be authorized?

Only note of hope, the American laboratories Pfizer and Moderna have announced that they plan to apply for the authorization of their vaccines by the end of November in the United States, which would mark a speed record for the development of a vaccine. .

But the eventual launch of vaccination by the end of the year will be too limited to contain on its own the epidemic, which is in its third rebound in the United States, with an alarming increase in contaminations, hospitalizations and deaths.

The United States is the most bereaved country on the planet (at least 218,602 dead, or nearly one in five worldwide), followed by Brazil (153,214 dead) and India (112,998 dead) .

South Africa, the most affected African country, passed the 700,000 case mark on Friday, for 18,370 deaths. It accounts for 43% of the cases recorded on the continent. Strict containment measures have been relaxed but here too, the authorities fear the arrival of a second wave.

Our COVID-19 file: what you need to know


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