Europe, struggling with a powerful second wave, surpassed 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, leading Italy and Switzerland to in turn announce further tightening of 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 in a week since mid-May and many countries are trying to protect themselves by increasing health measures.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Sunday a new series of restrictions on bar-restaurants, the ban on local festivals and fairs and amateur team sports, as well as the extension of teleworking.
These measures “should enable us to face the new wave of contagion which is severely affecting Italy and Europe. We cannot waste time. We must implement measures to avoid a new generalized confinement which could seriously endanger the economy, ”explained Mr. Conte. The Italian government released an additional 39 billion euros on Sunday to try to revive the national economy.
Italy, which until the end of September had been a virtuous exception in Europe, is now facing a worrying increase in the number of contagions: it has thus for the first time passed the bar of 10,000 new daily cases on Friday.
Switzerland, relatively spared by the first wave of spring, but faced with an exponential increase in cases, for its part makes it compulsory on Monday to wear a mask in closed public places, train stations, airports, bus and tram stops, restricting rallies 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 .
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.
In the capital, Czech police used tear gas and water cannons on Sunday in the face of a violent protest against anti-COVID-19 restrictions.
The Great Mosque reopens
While Europe is tightening the screws, elsewhere in the world, it is the easing of restrictions that are on the program in several countries.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday opened Islam’s holiest site to worshipers for the first time in seven months, and increased the number of pilgrims allowed for ‘umrah’ in the holy city of La to 15,000 per day. Mecca.
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 and nearly 2,200 deaths.
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 (nearly 220,000 dead, or nearly one in five worldwide), followed by Brazil (nearly 154,000 dead) and India (over 114,000 dead ).
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, of which more than two thirds in the United Kingdom (43,646 dead), in Italy (36,543 deaths), Spain (33,775 deaths), France (33,392 deaths) and Russia (24,187 deaths).
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.