Surge in Virus Cases in Europe of 'Great Concern', WHO Europe

Curfew in Paris European capitals are imposing strict new rules as coronavirus cases increase

Panicked Europe battens down against COVID second wave

Kluge confirmed that the number of cases in Europe had surpassed seven million, with nearly 700,000 new infections reported in the past week alone - the highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. France is considering imposing curfews while European governments struggle with a balance between saving the economy and promoting its citizens' health.

France's public health agency said that a total 30,621 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had been detected in the past 24 hours, a record daily total.

France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands all recorded record high cases on October 14 or 15.

The United Kingdom, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of Europe's new cases in the week to October 11, according to the World Health Organization. Major stock indexes were well over 2% lower in Europe on Thursday.

While Germany, the European Union's (EU) most populous nation, is still in comparatively good shape, alarm bells are ringing there too.

Spain and Germany also set new records, with 11,970 and 5,132 cases respectively.

Passengers wearing masks congregate on the London Underground on September 23. You will enter the city & quot High & quot The alert level on Saturday which means no mixing of families at home

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday after a meeting with the leaders of Germany's 16 states, Merkel said limits will be imposed if an area records at least 35 new infections per 100,000 people over seven days.

Medical staff at a drive-through at the San Paolo hospital, in Milan, Italy.

The WHO official reiterated that "the virus has not changed, it has not become more or less risky".

Setting up field hospitals, installing ICU beds, even purchasing more beds, countries in Europe are scrambling for hospital beds as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rolls in with vengeance.

Earlier yesterday Northern Ireland's devolved government announced plans to shut pubs and restaurants for four weeks, tighten restrictions on social gatherings and extend the mid-term school break to counter soaring case numbers there. Authorities reported 7,334 new infections in 24 hours, about 700 more than the 6,638 record set on the previous day.

In Belgium, with Europe's second worst infection rate per capita, hospitals now have to reserve a quarter of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

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"Sometimes we are at the edge of crying", said Lenka Krejcova, a head nurse at Slany hospital near Prague, as builders hurried to turn a general ward into a COVID-19 department. "We have no time".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government will mandate tighter restrictions in the United Kingdom capital starting this weekend, while French President Emmanuel Macron will confine residents of nine of the country's biggest cities to their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for four weeks from Saturday.

"It's a kind of spring tide that affects everybody simultaneously", Rousseau said. "It was the private sphere, festive events".

He said the situation was of "great concern", with daily case numbers and hospital admissions up and the region registering its highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 cases - nearly 700,000 - since the beginning of the pandemic.

"We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us", Kluge said. 'It is therefore up to us to accept them while they are still relatively easy to follow instead of following the path of severity'.

Welsh Chief Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Wednesday that Wales would ban travelers entering the country from the Corona virus hotspots in the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Friday. It was triggered by dozens of complaints over recent months, particularly over shortages of masks and other equipment.

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In Moscow, the elderly have been urged to isolate and school holidays have been extended by one week, with some students moving to online lessons. In Britain, for example, the government has faced repeated criticism for encouraging people to go back to work, to eat out in restaurants and to travel - while failing to implement a comprehensive contact tracing system to track new clusters.

Poland registered a record of almost 9,000 new cases yesterday. Masks have been required outdoors since Saturday and strict limits imposed on the size of gatherings.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under increasing pressure to impose more stringent measures to cut spiralling rates in England, including a two-week "circuit-breaker" lockdown.

Merkel was unable to agree with state premiers on restrictions on domestic travel, with some officials arguing that they are unnecessary and ineffective. "When the central government tells the regions they need to take tough measures, some of them are not happy about that".

He didn't specify what those measures might be.

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