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European Cities Locked Down Amid Coronavirus Surge

Dozens of European cities have been forced into lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus infections. Hospital intensive care units in the affected regions are filling up fast and doctors are warning that health systems could become overwhelmed as winter approaches.

Europe is now reporting more daily infections than the three countries worst hit by the pandemic — the United States, Brazil, and India.

Paris, along with eight other French cities, including Rouen, Lille, St. Etienne, Lyon, Grenoble, Montpellier, Marseille and Toulouse, have been put under night-time curfew. All restaurants, bars and shops will be forced to close, and people have been told to stay at home between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for four weeks beginning Oct. 17.

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus walks beneath the metal Puerta de la Ilustracion urban…
A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus walks beneath the metal Puerta de la Ilustracion urban sculpture designed by Andreu Alfaro in Madrid, Spain, Oct. 15, 2020.

Announcing the measures in a televised address Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of tough times ahead. “Testing, alerting, protecting, this is the key to the strategy that we have to ramp up throughout November and December, because we are going to have to deal with this virus until at least the summer of 2021, all the scientists are clear,” Macron said.

Some residents of the French capital expressed alarm at the return of a partial lockdown. “My first reaction was that it's going to be hell,” said 25-year-old Mathilde Weiss, a product manager. “I'm absolutely not going to have a social life anymore. So, I'm a little apprehensive, I admit.”

Coronavirus infections are rising exponentially in several European countries. Spain has put Madrid and eight nearby municipalities under a state of emergency, with strict limits on traveling outside the region. In Barcelona, the local government has ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days, with similar restrictions in force across the Netherlands.

Business owners are anxious about the impact of the new restrictions. “Who is going to take care of the wages for these 15 days? Who is going to take charge of the rent?” asked Julio Rodriguez, owner of the Pizza Sur restaurant on Barcelona’s seafront.

The Spanish government has extended emergency financial support for businesses. But the economic cost across Europe is growing.

European Cities Locked Down Amid Coronavirus Surge Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool among worst-hit cities

The Czech Republic is among the worst-hit countries with the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients this week reaching six times the peak seen during the first wave of the virus in the spring. The country has Europe's highest number of new coronavirus infections relative to population size.

Doctor Sterghios Moschos, a molecular biologist at Britain’s University of Northumbria, says the surge in infections in Europe likely was driven by young people returning to schools and universities in September.

“As soon as this virus is outside of those settings — meaning the family settings and therefore, by extension, the work settings as well — we’ll end up having the burden brought back onto those who are elderly, infirm or vulnerable," Moschos told VOA. "As a result of that we will see increasing hospitalizations in a matter of days."

Britain has imposed a three-tiered system of lockdowns, with the city of Liverpool in the highest tier. Doctors say more than 95 percent of intensive care beds in the city are full.

A man wearing a face mask walks past a statue of the Beatles, as new measures across the region are set to come into force in…
A man wearing a face mask walks past a statue of the Beatles, as new measures across the region are set to come into force in Liverpool, England, Oct. 14, 2020.

Jerry MacNally, a 61-year-old Liverpool resident, said he supports the new measures. “If we just carry on and carry on, it'll spread and spread and spread. It'll be like the TB [tuberculosis] from years ago, when everyone was dying — years ago when I was a young lad,” MacNally said.

London and several other English regions have been put on Tier 2 lockdown, restricting household mixing. The government has stopped short of calling for a so-called "circuit-breaker" two-week national lockdown, however, which some of its own scientific advisers have called for.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers Thursday that the new system has to be given time to work. “We must act to suppress it, and suppressing it through local action, in the first instance, is the best tool that we have whilst we work, of course, with the scientists and technology that can help us to do that better,” Hancock told MPs.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock walks through Downing Street on his way into number 10, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23,…
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock walks through Downing Street on his way into number 10, in London, Sept. 23, 2020.

“It is also best for economic outcomes," Hancock added. "Because even though the restrictions, of course, have their impact, and I understand that, and I feel that, it is better than the consequences of action that would have to be taken to ensure that we keep the virus under control were it to get out of hand once again.”

Doctor Sterghios Moschos told VOA the localized lockdowns won’t be enough to contain the pandemic.

“The borders between the Liverpool region and the Manchester region and London, [because of] modern transportation, are porous," Moschos said. "Unless people are literally stuck at home and not allowed to get out, so that any transmission is restricted to the homeplace, these measures are going to be half measures.”

“Time will show that we will end up in a situation that lockdown at Tier 2 is going to be inadequate and Tier 3 is not going to be adequate, and we will need to get into a lockdown like the one in March," he said. "The longer we leave it, the longer we’re going to need stronger measures to last for to contain the transmission.”

With hospitals filling up and the number of deaths increasing across Europe, scientists say the continent faces a difficult winter ahead.

Original Article from IsaanLive

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Love to follow the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga.

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Coronavirus

Malaysia’s King Rejects PM’s Request to Declare State of Emergency

Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah has rejected Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s request to declare a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The royal palace announced the decision in a statement Sunday, saying the king “is of the opinion that there is no need at the moment for His Majesty to declare an emergency in the country.”

The statement also said the king is pleased with Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s handling of the pandemic, and called on all politicians to stop any campaigning that could seriously damage the government’s stability.

Muhyiddin later issued a statement saying he welcomed the king’s advice and would discuss it with his cabinet.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, March 11, 2020.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, March 11, 2020.

Had the king approved Muhyiddin’s request, the state of emergency would have suspended Parliament before he was scheduled to present a budget in early November. Failure to pass the budget would be the equivalent to a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin and put pressure on him to call for a general election.

Muhyiddin has been prime minister since February, when he was chosen by King Abdullah after then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad unexpectedly resigned and his government collapsed. Veteran opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim met with the king last month and said he gave him the names of 120 members of the 222-seat parliament who are ready to defect from the prime minister’s razor-thin ruling coalition.

But the royal palace later released a statement saying Anwar only told the king the number of lawmakers who would support his takeover bid without revealing their identities.

Original Article from IsaanLive

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Coronavirus

European Markets Nosedive Monday as Global Coronavirus Cases Rise  

European markets were falling Monday as investors appeared increasingly uncertain about the outlook of the global economy due to a resurgence of coronavirus cases across Europe and the United States.

Britain’s benchmark FTSE index was down 0.2% at the midway point of the trading day. The CAC-40 index in France lost 0.4%, and Germany’s DAX index plunged 2.2%.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific rim ended mostly lower earlier Monday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index finished its trading session down 22 points, but unchanged percentage-wise.

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 and other Asian indexes at a securities firm in Tokyo…
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 and other Asian indexes at a securities firm in Tokyo, Oct. 26, 2020.

The S&P/ASX index in Australia lost 0.1%. Shanghai’s Composite index was 0.8% lower. South Korea’s KOSPI index dropped 0.7%, while in South Asia, Mumbai’s Sensex plunged 1.3%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.5%, and in Taiwan, the TSEC index finished up 10 points, but was unchanged percentage-wise.

In commodities trading, gold was selling at $1,906.20, up one point. U.S. crude oil was selling at $39.10 per barrel, down 1.8%, and Brent crude was selling at $41.05 per barrel, down 1.7%.

All three major U.S. indices were trending negatively in futures trading as investors awaited the opening bell on Wall Street.

Original Article from IsaanLive

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Australia’s Second-Largest City to Begin Emerging from Strict COVID-19 Lockdown   

After more than three months under stifling restrictions imposed in response to a second wave of COVID-19 cases, life in Australia’s second-largest city is slowly about to return to normal.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews announced Monday that Melbourne’s five million citizens will be able to leave their homes effective Tuesday at midnight, and that all cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels will be allowed to reopen.

The announcement comes as Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state recorded its first 24-hour period without any new coronavirus infections since June 9. The state had been plagued by a dramatic spike of new COVID-19 cases, peaking in August when daily new cases rose above 700. The resurgence of new cases has been blamed on security lapses at hotels where travelers were being quarantined after traveling overseas.

With zero new cases, Premier Andrews told reporters that “we are able to say that now is the time to open up. Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian for staying the course.”

Andrews also said that travel restrictions limiting people to no further than 25 kilometers from their home will end on November 8, which will allow people in Melbourne to travel to Victoria’s rural areas.

Testing in Kashgar, China

Health authorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province have launched a widespread testing effort in Kashgar after 137 new asymptomatic COVID-19 infections were discovered. The new cases were detected after a 17-year-old girl was found to be asymptomatic. The other asymptomatic cases have been traced to a factory where the girl’s parents work. Authorities say nearly 3 million people in Kashgar have been tested since the outbreak was detected.

Xinjiang was placed under a brief but tight lockdown period after a cluster of coronavirus cases was detected in August.

On the vaccine front

Meanwhile, British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced Monday that a vaccine it has developed in cooperation with the University of Oxford has produced a similar immune response in both younger and older adults, with adverse responses lower among the elderly.

The announcement by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant comes the same day The Financial Times newspaper said early reports from testing showed the experimental vaccine, dubbed AZD1222, produces a robust immune response in elderly people, who are among the highest risk from the disease.

Original Article from IsaanLive

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