Europe resumes curfews and lockdowns to contain covid-19

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France has imposed a curfew while other European countries are closing schools, canceling surgeries and enlisting medical students, as authorities on the continent face the nightmare of a new wave of covid-19 with the arrival of winter.

With a daily average of new cases of around 100,000, Europe has vastly overtaken the United States, where more than 51,000 new covid-19 infections are reported on average every day.

Faced with the surge of cases in France, President Emmanuel Macron announced the imposition of an evening curfew for four weeks, starting next Saturday (17) in Paris and in other major cities, affecting almost one third of the country’s population, from 67 million people.

“We need to react,” Macron said in a TV interview, adding that France had not yet lost control of the virus. “We are in a worrying situation.”

Most European governments eased their quarantines over the summer to restore their economies, which were hampered by the first wave of the pandemic.

But the return to normal activities – from packed restaurants to semesters of university classes – has fueled an acute outbreak of new cases across the continent.

Bars and restaurants were the first to be closed or faced with reduced hours, according to the new lockdown measures, but the escalating number of new cases is also testing government resolutions to keep schools and health care out of business. related to the new coronavirus.

Even Pope Francis was subjected to the new rules to contain the new coronavirus, keeping away from the faithful who followed his weekly audience this Wednesday (14).

In Lisbon, fans were not surprised after Portuguese soccer team captain Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for the virus, saying it just shows that everyone is at risk of infection – and famous athletes are no exception.

The Czech Republic, which has the worst rate per capita of cases on the continent, decreed that schools should operate only with distance learning and now evaluates to convene thousands of medical students. Hospitals are also canceling elective medical procedures to free up more beds for treating patients with the disease.

“Sometimes we are on the verge of tears,” said Lenka Krejcova, head nurse at Slany Hospital, near Prague, as builders are in a hurry to transform the general care section into a department for the treatment of the virus.

Poland is stepping up training for nurses and is evaluating the establishment of military field hospitals. Moscow must send more students to education online, and Northern Ireland is closing schools for the next two weeks and restaurants for the next four weeks.

* Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson, Geert De Clercq, Antonio Denti, Agnieszka Barteczko, Carl O’Donnell, Michael Erman, Vladimir Soldatkin, Catarina Demony, Miguel Pereira, Emily Roe, Carl O’Donnell, Manas Mishra, Manuel Mucari, Melanie Burton and Luis Felipe Castilleja

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