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European countries in lockdown as Covid-19 cases top 11 million

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: AP/Thanassis Stavrakis

Covid-19 cases across Europe have now topped 11 million, with Austria and Greece the latest countries to impose partial lockdowns. France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland have already done the same, introducing strict restrictions on movement and, in most cases, shutting all but non-essential services. Nearly 285,000 deaths from the virus have now been recorded across the continent.

The Bangkok Post reports that Greece is closing all restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and theatres in Athens, while in the cities of Thessaloniki and Serres, lockdown measures are even stricter. While business owners and employees have voiced their opposition, government spokesman Stelios Petsas warns the restrictions are essential and may get tougher.

“The measures will toughen if we do not adhere to them. Unfortunately, fear seems to mobilise societies.”

European countries in lockdown as Covid-19 cases top 11 million | News by Thaiger

Data from www.worldometers.info

In the UK, England is facing into a second lockdown, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave in to growing concern from medical experts over the healthcare system’s ability to cope. The government is also launching a pilot scheme in the city of Liverpool, currently one of the worst-affected cities, that will see rapid-result Covid-19 tests provided to the entire population. If successful, Johnson says the scheme could be rolled out across the UK.

“Dependent on their success in Liverpool, we will aim to distribute millions of these new rapid tests between now and Christmas and empower local communities to use them to drive down transmission in their areas.”

European countries in lockdown as Covid-19 cases top 11 million | News by Thaiger

Data from www.worldometers.info

Slovakia has already embarked on a similar exercise, deciding to test all 5.4 million people in the country. As the race to find a vaccine continues, countries are desperately trying to avoid lockdowns if at all possible, given the devastating effects on their economies and jobs. At least 9 vaccine candidates are now at the late stage of phase 3 trials.

Meanwhile, although Belgium is facing into another lockdown, the government has decided to exempt bookstores, in an effort to help the morale of the nation. But as Covid-19 cases grow, the country is having to transfer some patients to Germany for treatment, with France saying it may have to do the same. Germany says it can postpone non-urgent surgeries and has sufficient beds and ventilators for now. However, officials are concerned about not having enough medics to treat intensive care patients, particularly with many healthcare staff also having to quarantine themselves.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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