International

Europe battles Covid surge as cases top 30 mn globally

Copenhagen, Sep 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/19/2020 1:36:44 PM IST

Much of Europe braced for new curbs against Covid-19 after the World Health Organization warned of “alarming rates of transmission” in the continent, even as global infections topped 30 million.

Britain is limiting gatherings and France is set to roll out new curbs for major cities as governments across the region are battling fresh spikes of the disease. The Madrid region of Spain, witnessing an explosion of cases, said on Friday it was placing a partial lockdown on roughly 13% of the population.

More than 947,000 people have now died from Covid-19, with Europe accounting for more than 200,000. WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge said a surge seen this month “should serve as a wake-up call” after the continent recorded 54,000 infections in a single day last week.

French authorities are preparing tighter restrictions in several cities to curtail a resurgence that has seen nearly 10,000 new cases per day in the past week.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock said another national lockdown was not being ruled out, as the number of new cases accelerated in recent days. New curbs, called “circuit break” are likely next week targeting restaurants, pubs and hospitality areas, which could be shut or asked to close early for some weeks. Parts of north England have already been placed under new curbs.

“This is a big moment for the country. We are seeing an acceleration in the number of cases,” Hancock told BBC radio.

Asked if he was considering a new national lockdown, he said, “I have learned over the last nine months not ever to rule anything out. However, it is not the proposal that’s on the table.”

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