Ireland and Wales are under full quarantine, two-thirds of the French under tight restrictions and a record number of cases in Germany. The situation is “serious” in Europe, the new epicenter of the pandemic, as almost all governments warn.
According to the report of the French Agency, the continent today exceeded 8 million cases and 256,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Germany, which was a model for the good management of the first wave of the pandemic in the spring, recorded nearly 11,300 cases in 24 hours, a record number. The death toll is approaching 9,900.
“The situation around the world has become very serious,” said Lothar Wheeler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Health Minister Jens Spann also contracted the new coronavirus.
German authorities have banned rallies, a southern district has been almost quarantined and a protective mask is now mandatory on some Berlin streets.
In Ireland, in the hope that the country “will celebrate Christmas properly”, very strict restrictive measures came into force as of midnight on Wednesday: all residents are required to stay in their homes for six weeks, the non-essential shops closed, however the schools remain open.
Dublin today looked like a ghost town. “It’s weird and creepy,” said Suniva O’Flyn, a 57-year-old woman on a near-desert road. “There is again this feeling of sadness, this impression that the city has been abandoned.”
Wales will in turn be quarantined for two weeks from today. In Britain, the country with the highest death toll (44,158) in Europe, restrictions have been imposed on 28 million people. Pubs and restaurants have closed in Northern Ireland.
In Slovakia, the government decided to impose a partial quarantine for a week, starting on Saturday, and to close all schools (except the first grades of primary school) from Monday to November 27th. Residents will be able to leave their homes to work, go shopping or for a walk in the countryside, but within walking distance.
In France, where a record of 41,622 new cases was reported yesterday in a 24-hour period, the government extended for six weeks the night-time curfew (from 9am to 6am) which will affect the two-thirds of French people from Saturday. About 46 million people across the country.
“The coming weeks will be tough and our hospital services will be tested hard,” warned Prime Minister Jean-Castex, predicting that the death toll would rise in November. “All of Europe is on fire,” said Health Minister Olivier Veran.
The Czech Republic, which has by far the highest number of new cases and deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, from today imposed a partial quarantine until November 3. Travel and contacts are restricted, all unnecessary shops and services are closed.
Belgium has chosen a night curfew and closed cafes and restaurants for a month. The authorities describe the situation as “worse” compared to spring. Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, who was infected with coronavirus, is being treated in intensive care unit.
In northern Italy, Lombardy, the region’s economic center, imposed overnight curfew for three weeks. Calabria follows today.
“Tired, infected, sick”
In the EU’s poorest country, Bulgaria, it was decided yesterday to make the mask mandatory outdoors in crowded places. Health Minister Konstantin Angelov sounded the alarm for the medical staff: “they are all tired, many of them are infected, they are sick, some of them are being treated. We need help.”
The situation is deteriorating in Spain (34,366 deaths), which exceeded 1 million cases. Authorities immediately imposed new restrictions, blocking about ten cities and some regions.
Many other European countries recorded all time high of cases yesterday: Denmark (760 cases), Croatia (1,563), Bosnia (999).
“The epidemic is spreading rapidly across Europe, which is now in the spotlight,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Record number of cases in Portugal as well, where three northern cities (150,000 people in total) will is fully quarantined from today. Travel between communities will be banned throughout the country from October 30 until November 3, which coincides with All Saints’ Day.
According to the French Agency, at least 1,133,136 people have lost their lives worldwide and the confirmed cases amount to 41,304,000.