Europe, facing a powerful second wave, surpassed 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, as Israel and the Australian city of Melbourne began gradual deconfinement after several weeks of draconian restrictions.
• Read also: [EN DIRECT 18 OCTOBRE 2020] All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
• Read also: Switzerland imposes measures to stem an “exponential” increase in cases
With more than 8,000 deaths recorded in seven days, Europe has experienced its heaviest toll over a week since mid-May and many countries are trying to protect themselves by increasing health measures.
The last European country to announce measures on Sunday, Switzerland, relatively untouched by the first wave of spring, but faced with an “exponential” increase in cases, makes it compulsory from Monday to wear a mask in closed public places, stations, airports, bus and tram stops, restricts gatherings and recommends telecommuting.
Deploring 1,822 deaths from COVID-19 for 8.6 million inhabitants, Switzerland is the country in Europe where the disease has progressed the fastest last week (+ 146%), according to an AFP count .
100 days of confinement
In Israel, after a month of restrictions, nurseries, preschools, national parks, beaches and non-public businesses have reopened, and Israelis can now travel more than a kilometer from their homes. However, gatherings remain limited.
In the spring, Israel quickly lifted a first lockdown, wanting to revive the economy. But the country of nine million inhabitants recorded in September one of the highest rates of contamination in the world, since divided by four, according to data from AFP.
In total, the authorities have identified more than 302,800 patients, including nearly 2,200 deaths.
In Australia, the five million inhabitants of Melbourne, the country’s second city confined for more than 100 days, have been able since Sunday to leave their homes for more than two hours a day and to travel up to 25 km away, to make sport, buy basic necessities and work in professions deemed essential.
Daniel Andrews, Prime Minister of the state of Victoria where Melbourne is located, however rejected a lifting of the other restrictions, citing further easing on November 1 if the epidemic remained under control.
Since the start of the pandemic, Australia (25 million people) has counted some 27,000 cases and 904 deaths, including 800 in the state of Victoria.
These few local improvements do not reverse the global trend: the indicators are red. At least 1,111,152 deaths and more than 39.7 million infections have been identified since the start of the pandemic, according to an AFP count on Sunday. As of Saturday, at least 5,302 deaths and 372,882 new cases were recorded.
The United States is the most bereaved country (at least 219,289 dead, or nearly one in five worldwide), followed by Brazil (153,675 dead) and India (114,031 dead).
Restrictions in Europe
In Europe, a total of 250,030 deaths from Covid-19 have been declared (for 7,366,028 cases), according to an AFP report on Sunday, including more than two-thirds in the United Kingdom (43,646 deaths, 722,409 infections ), Italy (36 543, 414 241), Spain (33 775, 936 560), France (33 392, 867 197) and Russia (24 187, 1 399 334).
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 p.m. to 6 a.m. for at least a month in a dozen large 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 results in Europe (more than 33,300 deaths and 834,770 cases).
The United Kingdom, the most bereaved country in Europe (at least 43,579 dead) also tightened the screws on Saturday: in London and in several other areas, or 11 million people, indoor meetings between relatives and friends of households different are prohibited.
As for Lancashire (north-west) and Liverpool, they are on maximum health alert, which implies the ban on meetings between different households indoors and outdoors, and the closure of pubs that do not serve meals.
In Germany, which is also beating its daily records for new cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel solemnly asked her fellow citizens on Saturday to reduce their social relations as much as possible and to stay at home.
Slovakia has announced a screening campaign every more than 10 years, while Slovenia has given up tracing contacts of patients, for lack of sufficient staff.
Wash one’s hands!
In Poland, Warsaw and other large cities have closed middle and high schools, banned wedding ceremonies, restricted the number of people admitted to shops, transport and places of worship, and restaurants must close at 9:00 p.m.
In the Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infections and deaths per 100,000 mainland residents, the government has asked the military to build a 500-bed field hospital outside of Prague.
Italy, already hard hit in the spring, reported 10,010 new cases on Friday, its all-time high. Since Saturday, bars and restaurants have to close at midnight in Lombardy (north), the most affected region.
The Italian government decided on Sunday to mobilize an additional 39 billion euros to support its economy, the third in the euro area.
To fight the pandemic, frequent hand washing, recommended by the WHO from the start, is essential, confirms a Japanese study, according to which the coronavirus survives 9 hours on the skin, five times longer than the flu.