COVID-19: part of Europe barricades itself against the virus

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Restrictive measures are multiplying in Europe in the face of the resurgence of the coronavirus: partial confinement enters into force Thursday in the Czech Republic and a curfew is imposed in two Italian regions while Ireland was reconfined Wednesday evening.

And hope for an effective vaccine was clouded by the death of a volunteer in Brazil. The latter had participated in the tests of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford against COVID-19 in Brazil, official sources announced Wednesday, without specifying whether he had received the vaccine or a placebo.

This is the first death of a volunteer taking part in testing for one of the many ongoing vaccine trials around the world.

But Oxford assured that phase 3 of the tests of this vaccine developed with the AstraZeneca laboratory would continue, an independent committee having concluded that it did not present a risk to the health of the volunteers.

The deceased Brazilian has been identified by several media as a 28-year-old doctor who was on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. He is believed to have died of complications from COVID-19. He worked in two hospitals in Rio de Janeiro.

Some 20,000 volunteers took part in these tests in several countries, including 8,000 in Brazil.

Europe on alert

Faced with the resurgence of the virus, Europe is closing itself more and more, like the Czech Republic where the government has announced restrictions on the movement of people as well as the closure of shops and services to intensify the battle against illness, from Thursday until November 3.

The government will (…) limit travel and contact with other people (…) except for trips to work, shopping and visits to the doctor, Minister of Health Roman Prymula, an epidemiologist by profession, said on Twitter on Wednesday.

All points of sale, except food stores and pharmacies, will be closed from Thursday until November 3.

These restrictive measures come as Tuesday, the Czechs counted by far the largest number of new cases and deaths per 100,000 inhabitants calculated over the previous two weeks.

Curfew in two regions in Italy

Pedestrians in an alley in Naples.

An alley in Naples, in southern Italy.

Photo: Reuters / CIRO DE LUCA

In two Italian regions, Lombardy, the northern region most affected by the pandemic, and Campania to the south where Naples is located, we are preparing to put in place another measure to deal with the new outbreak of COVID cases- 19: curfew. This will be in effect in Lombardy from Thursday, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., for three weeks.

The President of Campania, Vincenzo De Luca, announced the start of the curfew for 11 p.m. Friday in this region of southern Italy. He did not specify at what time in the morning he would be up or the duration of this measure.

Italy has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases since Friday, with more than 10,000 sick per day, and Lombardy, where Milan is located, is the most affected, as it had been at the start of the pandemic, in February and March.

Campania is too, but with a less efficient health system than that of Lombardy, it is in a more difficult position.

The situation is also worsening in Germany, where, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the number of new infections exceeded 10,000 cases in less than 24 hours, according to official data released Thursday.

Germany has thus recorded 11,287 cases, a figure in net increase of nearly 3,700 compared to the day before, which largely exceeds the previous record of last Friday set at 7,830 new infections recorded by the institute of public health surveillance Robert Koch.

Containment in Ireland and Spain

In Ireland, the toughest measures came into effect overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, with a re-containment.

In hope of celebrate Christmas properly, in the words of Prime Minister Micheal Martin, the Irish are under house arrest for six weeks, but schools will remain open.

Non-essential businesses will close and the Irish will only be able to leave their homes to exercise within a three-mile radius, or face fines.

The situation also continues to worsen in Spain, which has become the first member of the EU, and the sixth country in the world, to cross the milestone of one million cases of coronavirus.

A woman, who is wearing personal protective equipment, is standing next to the hospital bed where her mother died.

Woman with deceased mother at hospital in Houston, Texas

Photo: Reuters / CALLAGHAN O'HARE

Faced with the resurgence of cases, the Spanish authorities had to urgently impose new restrictions, with the partial closure of a dozen new towns and certain regions.

The pandemic has killed at least 1,126,465 people worldwide since the end of December, including more than 254,300 in Europe, according to an AFP report on Wednesday. More than 40,856,210 cases of infection have been diagnosed.

The United States is the most affected country in terms of both deaths and cases, with at least 221,930 deaths, followed by Brazil (155,403 dead), India (115,914), Mexico (86,993) and the United Kingdom (43,967).

Poland could also be affected by a tightening of restrictions, according to the will of its prime minister who said he wanted to extend to the whole country the restrictions that came into force last week on almost half of the territory, proclaimed Red zone, in the face of a surge in coronavirus cases.

I will recommend that from Saturday all of Poland be considered a red zone, Mateusz Morawiecki told the private channel Polsat TV, shortly before a crisis meeting which must decide on such measures.

Read also :

  • EU will no longer recommend that its members accept Canadian travelers
  • People 25 to 44 and Hispanics Most Affected by COVID-19 in the United States
  • COVID-19: British researchers plan to infect volunteers

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