Europe clamps down as pandemic worsens | Daily News

Europe clamps down as pandemic worsens

China enjoys post-virus Golden Week

SPAIN: Europe was facing up Thursday to ever-worsening pandemic indicators, notably in Spain, Britain and France, as China revelled in its first post-coronavirus Golden Week holiday, with hundreds of millions on the move around the country.

By 2000 GMT Thursday the pandemic had killed at least 1,019,267 people around the world and infected over 34 million, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.

French authorities said they may place Paris on maximum virus alert as soon as Monday, potentially requiring all bars to close as the number of cases surges.

Spain, fighting a second wave of the virus, also extended drastic restrictions across its capital, despite fierce opposition from Madrid’s regional authorities, and most other regions have agreed to tighten curbs in areas of rapid contagion.

In Britain, chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told reporters “things are definitely heading in the wrong direction” as the government extended lockdowns to several towns in northern England, effectively putting more than a quarter of the country under tighter coronavirus restrictions.

And the Slovak and Czech governments both decided to impose states of emergency, starting Thursday and next Monday respectively, to allow them to take quick decisions in the face of considerable upticks in infections and deaths. On the other side of the globe in China, where the outbreak began late last year, the Golden Week holiday marking the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic took on added significance this year.

“People are travelling with a vengeance!” said Huo Binxing, a banker from Beijing who was heading to Lhasa in Tibet. “It’s our first chance to unwind after such a stressful period.”

While it reopened its borders to all African countries, South Africa is barring tourists from around 50 nations with high infection rates, including Britain, France, India, Russia and the US. In India, meanwhile, new research suggested that a small group of super-spreaders was responsible for almost two-thirds of coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous nation. The study, published in the journal Science, found that eight percent of all people carrying the virus were responsible for 60 percent of new infections. - AFP