Grim forecast as France surpasses one million Covid cases

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Coronavirus cases in France have topped one million as the country is warned the virus will persist at least until mid-2021.Yesterday, France recorded more than 40,000 new cases and 298 deaths. Other countries, including Russia, Poland, Italy and Switzerland, also recorded new highs.

A boss at a French hospital said many people were infecting others with Covid-19 without realizing they had the virus.
Photo: AFP

The World Health Organization has said the peak in European cases is a critical time in the fight against the virus.

He called for swift action to prevent health services from being overwhelmed.

Daily infections in Europe have more than doubled in the past 10 days. The continent has now recorded a total of 7.8 million cases and an estimated 247,000 deaths.

“The next few months are going to be very difficult and some countries are on a dangerous path,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

Globally, there have been more than 42 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.

Too early to decide on lockdown – Macron

Speaking on a visit to a hospital in the Paris region, Macron said scientists told him they believed the virus would be present “at best until next summer,” he said. declared.

But he said it was still too early to say whether France would enter a new full or partial lockdown.

Emmanuel Macron addresses the media after visiting a Paris hospital.
Photo: AFP

A nighttime curfew in the country is extended to around two-thirds of the country – 46 million people – from today for six weeks.

The curfew could be relaxed when new infections have fallen to 3,000 to 5,000 per day, Macron said – a level of infection that was last seen at the end of August.

Meanwhile, the head of a Paris hospital group has warned that the second wave of infections could be worse than the first.

“There has been a perception in recent months that a second wave does not exist, or that it is a small wave. The situation is the opposite, ”Martin Hirsch, head of the AP-HP hospital group, told local media.

Many of those currently in intensive care at his hospitals were older people who had self-isolated but became infected when their children visited them, Hirsch said.

“There are a lot of positive, contagious people on the streets without knowing it and without anyone else knowing it,” he added.

Covid patients currently occupy nearly half of the 5,000 intensive care beds in France.

And Prime Minister Jean Castex said a new influx of patients was likely – “Today’s new cases are tomorrow’s hospital patients. November will be difficult, ”he said.

Spain reflects on the next step

Earlier this week, Spain became the first EU country to register a million cases – but yesterday Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the “real number” of cases was likely over three million.

Sánchez urged the Spaniards to show “determination, social discipline and the necessary unity” but did not announce new measures to combat the spread of the virus.

The health minister and some regional governments have urged Sánchez to impose an overnight curfew, but other regional administrations have been reluctant, fearing the economic impact.

The prime minister – whose Socialist Party does not have a majority in parliament – has said a nationwide curfew will require a new state of emergency and he wants all regional governments to agree before take this action.

A two-week partial lockdown in Madrid – which city officials have resisted – is due to end this weekend and the city will then ban households from meeting indoors between midnight and 6 a.m. The bar capacity will be limited to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the regions of Castilla y León and Valencia must impose their own curfews and the southern region of Andalusia must introduce a curfew in the city of Granada.

People in a restaurant in Granada on October 23, 2020. COVID-19 infections are increasing in Granada (Spain) and the government of Andalusia has decided to make it compulsory to wear face masks

A curfew is on the way for the people of Granada.
Photo: AFP

However, Sánchez said the current situation was not comparable to March, when the central government imposed a strict lockdown. The median age of those infected has also fallen.

Elsewhere in Europe:

  • ItalyThe company’s public health body said the situation in many areas was near critical and full contact tracing had become impossible. The head of the southern Campania region, which has already imposed a curfew and closed schools, called for a full lockdown
  • Suisse recorded a daily record of 6,634 new cases. Tighter nationwide restrictions are expected next week, but should not include school closures
  • Russia recorded 17,340 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, a new daily record
  • Poland has entered a nationwide ‘red zone’ that includes partial closures of primary schools and restaurants
  • Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis called on Health Minister Roman Prymula to step down after a tabloid published photos of him leaving late at night, without a mask, from a restaurant that was due to be closed
  • Germany registered 11,424 new cases in the last 24 hours, suggesting a stable situation still under control, with an R rate of 1.1
  • The Netherlands started transferring patients to Germany as their own hospitals were under strain
  • Portugal imposes a lockdown on three northern districts, affecting 150,000 people – and the whole country will have movement restrictions for next week’s holiday weekend
  • Greece declared a nighttime curfew in Athens and other areas to go into effect today
  • – BBC

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