EUROPE is losing its fight against Covid-19 as France records its highest daily toll since April, a senior WHO doctor said.
Dr Michael Ryan, director general of the World Health Organization’s emergency program, has warned that stricter measures are needed to contain the European pandemic.
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Speaking to reporters, he suggested that the EU’s borders may have to be closed to contain the outbreak.
He said: “There is no doubt that the European region is currently an epicenter of the disease.
“Right now we’re way behind this virus in Europe, so getting ahead of it will require a serious acceleration of what we’re doing and maybe a much more comprehensive nature of the measures that will be needed.
It comes as deaths from Covid-19 in Europe approached 210,000 with more than 209,000 dead at the start of this week.
Meanwhile, France reported 523 more coronavirus deaths yesterday and new infections have risen across the country.
President Emmanuel Macron will address his nation tonight to announce more lockdown restrictions.
The death toll in the country is currently 35,541 people, including more than a million infected since the start of the pandemic.
Dr Ryan said EU members may need to close their borders to “take the heat out” of the pandemic.
He said: “There is a lot of free movement, according to these principles it may be necessary to stop and restrict movement and have stay-at-home orders in order to relieve this phase of the pandemic. ”
In Spain, a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew have been imposed in an attempt to control the second wave of the virus.
Under the new restrictions, local authorities can ban travel between regions.
The country yesterday recorded 18,418 new daily infections with 200,000 new cases in the past two weeks, an increase of 33%.
And yesterday, Spanish doctors began their first nationwide strike in 25 years.
Doctors are calling for better working conditions and a new law that lowers hiring standards.
However, it was reported that the strike caused minimal disruption to hospitals.
Currently, the death toll in Spain is 35,298 dead with over a million infections.
In the Belgian city of Liège, doctors with coronavirus have been urged to continue working in a desperate attempt to control the spike in cases.
A quarter of the country’s medical staff are said to be sick with the respiratory disease.
The Belgian Association of Physicians’ Unions confirmed that 10 hospitals have told workers with Covid but no symptoms to continue treating patients.
Meanwhile, in Italy, a nighttime curfew sparked riots and looting by anti-lockdown activists.
Violence erupted in Turin when protesters smashed windows, set off smoke bombs and threw bottles at cops.
Police in Milan’s financial capital have arrested 28 people after protests turned violent on Monday night when cops blocked their procession to government offices.
The current death toll in Italy stands at 37,700, with daily new cases exceeding 20,000 in recent days.
Dr Ryan said if tighter restrictions were imposed, countries would be able to stay ahead of transmission rates.
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He urged people to do the right thing and follow the lockdown rules amid protests across the world against the restrictions.
The doctor said, “How can you get someone to do something if they don’t really believe there is a problem?
“Governments have to persuade people to do the right thing, but they have to help them do it. “