Europe, which is currently facing a powerful second wave, surpassed this Sunday (18) 250,000 deaths by Covid-19 this Sunday (18). With more than 8,000 deaths recorded in seven days, the continent has experienced its highest number of deaths in a week since mid-May and many countries are trying to protect themselves by tightening restrictions.
Last European country to announce measures on Sunday, Switzerland, relatively spared by the first wave of the disease in the European spring, but facing an “exponential” increase in cases, makes it mandatory from Monday (19) to use a mask in places closed publics, train stations, airports, at bus and tram stops, in addition to restricting meetings and recommending teleworking.
With 1,822 deaths from Covid-19 to 8.6 million, Switzerland is the country in Europe where the disease progressed most rapidly in the past week (+ 146%), according to an AFP count.
The United States is the most bereaved country on the planet (at least 219,289 dead, or almost one in five in the world), followed by Brazil (153,675 dead) and India (114,031 dead).
More restrictions in Europe
In Europe, a total of 250,030 Covid-19 deaths have been reported (for 7,366,028 cases), according to the report released by AFP on Sunday (18). The countries hardest hit in total numbers of deaths are, in this order: the United Kingdom (43,646 deaths to 722,409 infections), Italy (36,543 deaths to 414,241 cases), Spain (33,775 deaths to 936,560 cases), France (33,392 deaths for 867,197 cases) and Russia (24,187 deaths for 1,399,334 cases).
Across the continent, restrictions are increasing. France, which on Saturday recorded a record of more than 32,000 new cases, introduced a curfew from 9 pm to 6 am for at least a month in a dozen major cities, including Paris and its suburbs. In total, 20 million people are affected, almost a third of the country’s population, which has one of the worst records in Europe.
The United Kingdom, Europe’s most bereaved country (at least 43,579 dead) also stepped up sanitary measures on Saturday (17): in London and several other areas, or 11 million people, internal meetings between relatives and friends from different homes are prohibited.
Lancashire (northwest) and Liverpool are on high health alert, which implies a ban on meetings between different homes inside and outside the home and the closing of bars that do not serve meals.
In Germany, which is also breaking its daily records of new cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel solemnly asked her fellow citizens on Saturday to reduce their social relations as much as possible and stay at home.
Slovakia has announced a testing campaign for all people over 10 years old, while Slovenia has given up on tracking cases of contact with patients for lack of sufficient staff.
“Wash your hands!”
In Poland, Warsaw and other major cities have closed elementary and high schools, banned wedding ceremonies, restricted the number of people admitted to shops, transport and places of worship and restaurants are expected to close at 9 pm.
In the Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infections and deaths per 100,000 residents on the continent, the government has asked the military to build a 500-bed field hospital outside Prague.
Italy, already badly hit in the first wave, reported 10,010 new cases on Friday (16), its highest record. Since Saturday, bars and restaurants have closed at midnight in northern Lombardy, the most affected region.
The Italian government decided on Sunday to mobilize an additional 39 billion euros to support its economy, the third largest in the euro area.
To combat the pandemic, frequent hand washing, recommended from the beginning by the WHO, is essential, confirms a Japanese study, according to which the coronavirus survives 9 hours on the skin, five times more than the flu.
(With information from AFP)