Millions of Europeans face tough new coronavirus restrictions as governments intensify efforts to slow the influx of infections, after the World Health Organization reported “very much about” an increase of 44 cases in Europe within a week.
From Saturday night, Paris and many other French cities are subject to a night-time curfew that lasts at least a month. England bans mixed household gatherings in the capital and other places, and the most popular region of Italy restricts the opening of bars and suspends sporting events.
The need for action on France was underlined as the country reported another record for new cases, with more than 32,000 registered within 24 hours.
Global cases of the disease, which have killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide, are escalating beyond what was seen in the first wave of the first year, when many countries resorted to national lockdowns to control the crisis.
As well as the number of deaths, the pandemic has caused social and economic destruction around the world.
Ang United States, which suffered the worst toll with more than 218,000 fatalities, on Friday unveiled a record deficit of $ 3.1tn in the fiscal year ended September 30.
It also announced that the number of cases there has passed 8 million, while daily day-to-day infections have also hit a new record.
In a bid to curb the alarming rise in infections and in the hope of a full-blown lockdown, many governments have tightened measures to control the spread of the pandemic – although some non-partisans are fighting courts.
Approximately 20 million people in the Paris region and eight other French cities are facing a 9 pm-6am curfew from Saturday after cases erupted in which it once again became one of Europe’s major hotspots.
Many restaurant owners are unhappy with the hit that will reach their businesses.
“Closing at 9pm has no effect (on the epidemic),” said Gerard, the manager of a Toulouse restaurant. “They’re not attacking it the right way.”
Britain was the hardest hit country in Europe, with more than 43,000 deaths from nearly 700,000 cases.
But as the government there has ramped up restrictions, banning indoor meetings between members of various households in London and many other English cities, growing criticism from some quarters.
Under the new measures, nearly 28 million people – half the population of England – are now subject to strict social restrictions.
Some officials in northwestern England have objected to their cities being placed at the highest level with a new three-level alert system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that local restriction policies cannot be “painless”.
But the hope is that these steps will be enough to lead to another full lockdown.
Northern Ireland temporarily close pubs and restaurants on Friday for a month and extend the holidays.
GermanyChancellor Angela Merkel urged citizens to stay home as long as possible after 7,830 cases have arisen within 24 hours.
“What will determine winter and our Christmas is deciding in the coming weeks,” he said in his weekly podcast address.
But on Friday, a Berlin court overturned an order for restaurants and bars to close early, the latest legal setback for Germany’s national and local government efforts to restrict coronavirus transmission.
Sa Italy, the wealthy northern region of Lombardy, worst hit by the first wave of the virus in February, ordered all bars to close at midnight.
Slovakia announced on Saturday will test all more than 10 for the virus, as infections spread there.
“The trial is free of charge,” Prime Minister Igor Matoviche told reporters in the country of 5.4 million people, without specifying whether it was compulsory or voluntary.
Poland, ang Czech Republic at Belgium everyone announces daily caseload records.
In the Czech Republic, the government asked the army to build a field hospital with 500 beds outside Prague.
Belarus will impose its own curfew, from midnight to 5 am, from Monday, and will also close cafes and restaurants for four weeks.
And Poland has closed schools and colleges in major cities while restaurants have to close from 9 p.m.
In other developments:
Austria, Slovenia at Hungary all announced an influx of cases – in Slovenia, the forced wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces began on Saturday.
The deceased in Iran crossed the 30,000 mark, the health ministry announced on Saturday.
Israel is preparing to mitigate some lockdown restrictions from Sunday to the first phase of scaling back measures imposed last month.
Saudi Arabia allowed citizens and residents within the kingdom to perform prayers in one of the holiest religious places in Islam, the Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, for the first time in seven months, state television reported Sunday.
New Zealand, which twice removed the virus, reported the first local case in 22 days.
The French Collection of Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific recorded its first case for the entire pandemic.
Saudi Arabia allowed citizens and residents within the kingdom to perform prayers in one of the holiest religious places in Islam, the mosque of Al-Haram in Meka, for the first time in seven months.
At Agence France-Presse