Coronavirus | European cases rocket, strong limits needed

Clay Curtis
October 16, 2020

New restrictions were introduced Wednesday, with schools closing and bars and restaurants allowed to serve through windows until 8 p.m. We are talking about cities and regions in which 50 new cases of infection per 100 thousand inhabitants were recorded over the past seven days.

Citing projections provided by epidemiological models, WHO Regional Director for Europe Kluge said simple measures - such as mask wearing at a rate of 95 percent from now, instead of the less than 60 percent today, together with the strict control of social gatherings - may save up to 281,000 lives by february 1 across WHO Europe's 53 member states.

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".

Johnson was adamant he did not want a second lockdown but now the prospect of a so-called "circuit-breaker" with schools closed for two weeks is in the air. This will allow the authorities to promptly impose measures such as curfews.

At a virtual press conference on Thursday, WHO (World Health Organization) Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge confirmed that the number of cases in Europe had surpassed seven million, with nearly 700,000 new infections reported in the past week alone - the highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Czech Republic, which reported on Wednesday 9,544 new COVID-19 cases, its biggest daily count ever and one of the highest COVID-19 spikes in Europe, will start putting together emergency field hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the three-tier Covid Alert system across England on Wednesday, emphasizing localized restrictions.

United Kingdom government data showed 19,724 and 137 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 654,644 and 43,155, respectively. "We are seeing an increase in transmission in a large number of countries across the region", Van Kerkhove told CNN reporter Alicin Camerota.

She added that many countries had controlled the virus earlier during the pandemic and that it could be done again and intervention should be targeted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel imposes stricter restrictions in the countryCoronavirus hotspots, saying she felt "uncomfortable" about the "exponential growth" of coronavirus cases in the country.

Social gatherings are limited to 10 people, and bars and restaurants should be closed until 11pm in areas with the highest infection rates. It said member countries should start preparations now to immunize its citizens against COVID-19 in the future, by taking measures like ensuring health workers are trained and addressing any logistical requirements necessary for shots that may need to be transported at extremely low temperatures. Londoners face new restrictions on meeting with people indoors.

A National Health Service sign displaying Covid-19 guidelines in the West End of London. The British capital has approached an average of 100 infections per 100,000 people. A medic receiving a shot of the

The so-called positivity rate - the proportion of people infected out of the total number of those tested - rose to 12.6 percent on Thursday from 12.2 percent on Wednesday.

In the USA, new cases per day are on the rise in 44 states, with numerous biggest surges in the Midwest and Great Plains, where resistance to masks and other precautions has been running high and the virus has often been seen as just a big-city problem.

Germany also registered 33 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the RKI added, bringing its total to 9,710.

The total number of cases has reached 139,290, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that 46 percent of ICUs in Paris are occupied by COVID-19 patients, as the country is struggling to contain a worrying resurgence of the coronavirus. A survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed oft-cited claims that the mental health fallout of Covid-19 control policies has been massive, affecting as many as one in two people in countries as diverse as the UK, Philippines, Lebanon, and Switzerland.

Russian Federation reported a record coronavirus-related deaths at 286 over the past 24 hours, according to coronavirus response center data released on Thursday.

"Although we record 2 to 3 times more cases per day compared to the April peak, we still observe 5 times fewer deaths". Russian officials say the total number of deaths is now 23,491, but the figure is likely to be even higher due to the way the state calculates mortality and reports of high excess mortality this year.

Spain became the first European Union country to pass 900,000 cases on Wednesday.

Number of new daily cases reported on Wednesday.

Visitors to nightclubs and bars that are open Monday through midnight are required to scan a QR code or text a special number to help track their contacts.

Reported by CNN's Nada Bashir, Amanda Watts, Fred Blitzen, Martin Goilando, Thomas Edgeler, Peter Dagart, Sarah Dean, Stephanie Halas, Tomas Edgeler, Joe Shelley, Mary Ilyushina, Nina Avramova, Zahirt Mahmood and Contributed.

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