Second wave of Covid-19 sweeps Europe, US
The European Union, Britain, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland have alone accounted for over 1.1 million cases over the past seven days.
New wave of coronavirus infections has nearly wiped out months of progress made against the virus, forcing fresh imposition of restrictions and lockdowns across Europe and United States. The European Union, Britain, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland have alone accounted for over 1.1 million cases over the past seven days. According to John Hopkins university, the virus has killed more than 250,000 people in Europe and over 227,000 in the U.S.
British prime minister Boris Johnson has so far resisted a second country-wide lockdown despite calls from the opposition Labour Party and his own scientific advisers last month to order a temporary 'circuit breaker' closure to get the virus under control.
French President Emmanuel Macron declared a new nationwide lockdown starting Friday. he admitted that the country had been "overpowered by a second wave". Bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses will be forced to close, but unlike during the two-month lockdown imposed last spring, students will continue to go to school.
Italy rolled out new anti-virus restrictions, which shut down restaurants and bars at nightfall, closed movie theaters and in some regions imposed overnight curfews. Italy reached a new daily record of nearly 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and added 205 deaths over the last 24 hours.
The country's health ministry said nearly 2,300 coronavirus patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours. Over 25% of the ICU beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has already announced a new state of emergency to curb soaring coronavirus infections, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases.
German officials have agreed to a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities in a bid to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. Restaurants will still be allowed to serve take-out food. Shops and schools are to remain open, unlike during Germany’s shutdown during the first phase of the pandemic. Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency."
With the country reporting more and more case daily, the Czech government has further tightened regulations, imposing a nationwide curfew between 9 pm and 6 am which started on Wednesday. Earlier, it had limited free movement, closed stores, schools and restaurants, made it mandatory to wear face masks indoors and outdoors, and banned sport competitions.
In the US, practically every state is seeing a rise in cases. Illinois has banned indoor dining and drinking in Chicago this week. Other states are likewise considering reimposing restrictions. Cases are on the rise in all but two states, Hawaii and Delaware, and deaths are climbing in 39 states, with an average of 805 people dying in the U.S. per day, up from 714 two weeks ago.