Coronavirus around the world: Strict measures in Europe to confront the second wave of Covid-19

Strict measures came into effect in Europe on Saturday, as part of the relentless attempts to control the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, the most prominent of which was the prevention of gathering in London, the curfew in France and the closure of schools in Poland.

This comes on the heels of a week that witnessed an increase in injuries on the European continent (+ 44% compared to the previous week), while they decreased in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, according to an AFP census.

The World Health Organization believes that the situation in Europe causes “great concern”.

On Saturday, France recorded a record number of Coronavirus infections (more than 32 cases within 24 hours), while the number of patients in resuscitation departments continued to increase, according to official figures.

The situation in France is among the worst in Europe, with more than 33,300 deaths and 834,770 cases.

Residents of dozens of major French cities, including Paris and its suburbs – 20 million people in total – have been subjected to a curfew between 9 pm and 6 am for a period of at least four weeks since Saturday.

In addition to the Paris region, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne, Aux-Marseille, Rouen and Grenoble are included in the list of major cities affected by this curfew. 

But there are also small towns affected.

In the United Kingdom, the European country most affected by the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic (43,429 deaths and 15,000 new infections Friday), the authorities tended to tighten restrictions.

Britain (more than 55 million people) had set a maximum of six people gathering (in both open and closed spaces) and decided to close bars at 22:00.

But as Saturday falls, half of the population is subject to more severe restrictions. 

London and several other regions, which amounts to about 11 million people, have banned indoor gatherings between families and friends, while Lancashire (northwest) and Liverpool are under a state of high health alert (no meetings between families at home and abroad, and bars that do not serve meals are closed).

In Northern Ireland, bars and restaurants closed Friday for a month and school holidays were extended.

In Germany, which counted 7,830 new infections in 24 hours, a record, Chancellor Angela Merkel asked her citizens on Saturday to control social relations as much as possible.

In Poland, new restrictions are taking effect in its capital Warsaw and other large cities in Poland: schools and high schools are closed amid the introduction of distance learning mechanisms, restaurants close at 9 pm, weddings are forbidden, and the number of people in stores will be limited, as is the case with public transport and religious events.

In the Czech Republic, which records the most severe cases and deaths per 100,000 people in Europe, the government requested the army to build a field hospital outside Prague, with a capacity of 500 beds. 

Globally, the epidemic crisis has claimed 1,105,691 people since its inception, according to a census by France Press.

On Friday, Italy recorded 10,010 new cases, the highest daily toll in this country.

Milan, in Lombardy (north of Italy), is the hardest hit.

Starting from Saturday, all its bars and restaurants will close at midnight, and amateur sports activities will be suspended until at least November 6.

In Campania (southwest), the Naples region had decided to close its schools this week and ban funeral ceremonies and processions.

In Belgium, a curfew will be imposed from midnight to 5 am on Monday. 

All cafes and restaurants in the country will have to be closed from Monday for at least a month.

This country recently crossed the 200,000 mark, after it crossed the 100,000 mark on 20 September.

Prime Minister Alexandre de Crowe justified the measures, saying that “the numbers are doubling every week, they are rising in a big way…) it is a steady rise”.

Belgium is one of the most affected European countries in relation to its population (10359 deaths out of 11.5 million people).

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Sophie Wilms announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Perhaps the only glimmer of hope amid this news lies in the announcement by US laboratories of the two groups, “Pfizer” and “Moderna” that they are planning to apply for a license for their vaccines by the end of November in the United States, which will mean a record time in the rapid development of a vaccine.

Nevertheless, a potential vaccination campaign at the end of the year will be too limited to contain the epidemic.

The United States remains the most affected country in the world (218,602 deaths, which means one death out of five deaths globally), followed by Brazil (153,214 deaths) and India (112,998 deaths).

In Africa, South Africa, the worst affected country on the continent, has crossed the 700,000 mark, with 18,370 deaths recorded. 

This country contains 43% of confirmed cases in the whole continent. 

Despite this, restrictions were eased amid authorities’ fear of a second pandemic wave.