Doctor warns France has “lost control” of coronavirus

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A French doctor warned on Monday that his country had “lost control of the epidemic”, a day after health officials reported more than 52,000 new cases of coronavirus and as countries across Europe adopt restrictions more drastic in trying to slow the spike in infection rates.Spain – the first European country to surpass one million confirmed cases of COVID-19 – declared a state of emergency on Sunday and imposed a nationwide nighttime curfew, a ceiling of six people for social gatherings and possible travel bans in and out of the hardest hit areas.

The effect was clear on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas promenade, which was deserted on Sunday evening when it would normally have been teeming with people.

In Italy, new coronavirus restrictions came into effect on Monday, including the closure of gyms, swimming pools and cinemas and early curfews on indoor meals at cafes and restaurants. Residents must also continue to wear masks outdoors.

In France, Dr Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific council advising the French government on the coronavirus, said the country was in a “very difficult, even critical situation”.

“There are probably over 50,000 new cases every day. Our estimate at the Scientific Council is closer to 100,000, ”Delfraissy told RTL radio. “Between those who are not tested and asymptomatic patients, we are close to this number of cases. This means that the virus is spreading extremely quickly. ”

Dr Eric Caumes, head of the infections and tropical diseases department at the Pitié-Salpétrière hospital in Paris, said the country had to close its doors again. France declared a state of emergency earlier this month and has imposed more and more restrictions since September in an attempt to ease pressure on hospitals, where COVID-19 patients occupy more than half of all ICU beds.

“We have lost control of the epidemic, but it is not new,” he said on the Franceinfo channel. “We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago.”

The confirmed death toll in Europe has exceeded 250,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, which brings the global toll to more than 1.1 million.

Italy was the first country in the West to be criticized by COVID-19. Its new measures also ban indoor and outdoor gatherings, including those for religious reasons, and the government urges people to avoid having guests at home and traveling around the country except for work, health. or other necessities.

The owner of the Milanese trattoria, Giuseppe Di Terlizzi, fears the worst as he is forced to close in the evening after already losing customers at lunchtime because many people work from home.

“We have high costs and almost zero revenues,” he said on Sunday. “So it will be a disaster. If they don’t help us, it will be the death of catering in Milan.

Italy records around 20,000 new confirmed infections per day and health authorities have warned that some hospital departments with COVID-19 are at risk of reaching saturation point in the next week or two.

UK authorities are likely to tighten restrictions on more parts of the country this week, amid mixed signs whether measures introduced in recent weeks have helped stem a sharp rise in infections.

Government science advisers say there are signs of stabilization since a three-tier system of restrictions went into effect in England, but it is too early to be certain.

Much of northern England, including the large cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, has been placed in the first ‘very high’ risk tier, with pubs closed and people from different households banned from mixing. .

Lawmakers in the Czech Republic, which has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus resurgence in Europe, is preparing this week to approve a government plan to recruit up to 300 military health workers from countries NATO and EU to help deal with the influx of patients.

They will help their Czech colleagues at the military hospital in Prague and at a field hospital for 500 patients that the armed forces finished installing this weekend at the Prague exhibition grounds. The first batch of 28 US National Guard medics are expected to arrive later this week.

Croatia, where the tourism minister tested positive over the weekend, is seeking help closer to home, urging retired doctors and medical students to join the fight against the coronavirus. Authorities are also preparing the main indoor arena in the capital, Zagreb, as a potential COVID-19 makeshift hospital as hospitals fill up with new coronavirus patients.

And in Germany, which was hailed for its initial response to the coronavirus, the growing workload prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party on Monday to delay for the second time a decision on who will become its new leader. Whoever wins the Christian Democratic Union leadership race will be able to become the center-right campaigning candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor in a national election slated for fall 2021.

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