Thu, 22 Oct 2020

WHO Warns of COVID-19 Spikes in Europe, Americas

Voice of America
17 Oct 2020, 08:05 GMT+10

Daily cases of COVID-19 have reached record highs around the world, particularly in Europe and the Americas, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva that record-high numbers of cases were reported in each of the last four days.

"We must remember that this is an uneven pandemic," said Ghebreyesus. "Countries have responded differently, and countries have been affected differently. Almost 70% of all cases reported globally last week were from 10 countries, and almost half of all cases were from just three countries."

The United States had more new infections over a 24-hour period than any other country, with 63,610, increasing the country's total Friday to a world-leading 8.03 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

The U.S. also maintained its global lead in COVID-19 fatalities, with Hopkins reporting 820 new deaths, increasing the country's total Friday to at least 218,000 dead.

Surges in five states

Upticks in the U.S. were led by surging infection rates in the states of Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and California, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins.

India recorded 63,371 new cases Friday, according to Hopkins, while there were also sharp increases in the number of infections in France, Brazil and Britain.

The WHO's Maria Van Kerkhove told reporters Friday that 80% of the countries in Europe were experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases.

In Britain, where Johns Hopkins University reported nearly 19,000 new cases Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened to force Greater Manchester to impose the country's most stringent level of coronavirus restrictions after local officials refused to place restrictions on areas with high infection rates.

On Saturday, France will begin a 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew for the region of Paris and at least seven other cities: Lyon, Grenoble, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Lille, Rouen and Saint-Etienne. The curfew will remain in effect for at least four weeks.

German restrictions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and governors of the country's 16 states have agreed to impose a new round of nationwide restrictions after seeing record-high new COVID-19 cases. The restrictions include closing bars and restaurants early and limiting the number of people allowed to gather in public.

Merkel said Friday that a planned European Union summit on the 27-nation bloc's China policy in Berlin next month had been canceled because of the resurgent pandemic.

Italy reported more than 10,000 new infections over the past 24 hours Friday, the highest daily number since the beginning of the country's outbreak. Italy has the second-highest death toll in Europe after Britain, reporting more than 36,400 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in February.

As of midafternoon Friday, there were more than 39 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 1.1 million global COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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