COVID-19: Europe must prepare for a 'harsher' autumn

(Copenhagen) Europe must prepare for a “harder” autumn with a rise in the death toll from COVID – 17, warned a World Health Organization official, at a time when several countries impose new targeted measures to counter a second wave of the pandemic which has already made more than 921 00 death.

Camille BAS-WOLHERT with the AFP offices

France Media Agency

From Monday, a strict assembly limit goes into effect in England, as Italy faces the challenge of re-entry and Israel has decided to re-confine itself from the end of the week.

“It will get harder. In October, in November, we’re going to see higher mortality, “Hans Kluge, director of the European branch of the WHO, told AFP.

The number of cases in Europe has been rising sharply for several weeks, particularly in Spain and France. According to the organization’s public data, more than 50 000 new cases were reported for Friday alone in 55 WHO countries Europe . This is more than the peaks seen in April, although testing capacity was significantly lower at the time, experts said.

For the time being, the number of daily deaths remains at the level observed since the beginning of June, around 300 to 490 COVID-related deaths – 14, according to WHO Europe, which brings together all of its fifty or so Member States on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the pandemic response.

The UN official stressed that the development of a vaccine, still underway, will not end the pandemic. “I hear all the time: ‘the vaccine is going to be the end of the epidemic.’ Of course not ! Mr. Kluge exclaimed.

However, he felt that the situation should now call for a targeted response and no longer generalized confinements.

As in England where it is now forbidden to meet with more than six people from different households. This restriction, which does not apply to other UK provinces, applies indoors and out, with the exception of schools, workplaces, weddings or funerals.

On Tuesday, all meetings between friends or families will be banned in Birmingham, the second most populous city in the United Kingdom, according to a decision by local authorities. Locals can still go to cafes, restaurants or shops, but cannot meet other people from different homes.

More than 3500 new cases of COVID – 19 had been recorded in the country on Friday, according to government figures, the worst daily toll since 17 may.

Returned to Italy

In Austria, wearing a mask, already compulsory in supermarkets and transport, became on Monday in all shops and all public buildings.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Sunday that the country was “at the start of the second wave” and that the number of new cases should soon exceed one thousand per day, calling on the population to strictly adhere to anti-virus measures and reduce maximum contacts.

Same concern in the Czech Republic, which is now one of the three Member States of the European Union where the daily progression of the virus is the fastest, after France and Italy.

In Italy, some 5.6 million students have returned to school, after six months of school closures, but in the midst of strict measures: there will be immediate quarantine of those who have been “in close contact” with any student or teacher who tested positive for COVID – 17.

This new school year is under the sign of barrier gestures: distancing, with 3500 new classrooms created and close to 5000 old enlarged, hand washing, with 170 04 liters of hydroalcoholic gel per week promised by the government, and wearing of a mask, with the daily supply of some 09 millions of free masks for teachers and students.

Conversely, the government of Venezuela has decided that face-to-face classes will not resume before 2020.

Trump Meeting Room

In Israel, faced with an alarming spread of COVID – 17 with 153 217 cases, including 921 deaths, for a population of nine million inhabitants, the authorities have decided to re-impose national containment.

It will come into effect from Friday for the feast of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), will continue during Yom Kippur and will end on the last day of Sukkot, around October 9.

A new containment, at least partial, also comes into force Monday in Jakarta, in the grip of a sharp worsening of the epidemic three months after the restrictions were lifted.

The pandemic has made at least 921 097 dead around the world since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease in late December, according to an AFP report Sunday.

More than 28 819 490 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed, of which at least 17 133 300 are now considered to be cured.

The United States is the most affected country in terms of both number of deaths and cases, with 170 033 deaths for 6 516 861 cases identified, according to the count of the Johns Hopkins University.

This did not prevent President Donald Trump from holding his first indoor meeting in Nevada on Sunday, outraging local authorities who reported that the events bringing together more than 50 people were not allowed because of the coronavirus.