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Europe, WHO Sound Alarm over Resurgent Virus Crisis

Europe, WHO Sound Alarm over Resurgent Virus Crisis
folder_openEurope... access_timeone month ago
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By Staff, Agencies

The European Union's disease control agency has joined frantic health workers to sound the alarm over a coronavirus surge across the continent, as the World Health Organization warned of an "exponential" rise in infections.

Even countries that avoided severe outbreaks during Europe's first wave of contagion in the spring have watched their case numbers surge, with Germany's death toll passing 10,000 on Saturday.

Governments have reintroduced containment measures to slow the renewed spread of the virus in nations that only weeks earlier believed they had triumphed over the crisis.

But populations weary of social isolation and economic hardship have pushed back against fresh restrictions, including overnight clashes in hard-hit Naples between Italian police and hundreds of protesters.

The continent was facing a major threat to public health and a "highly concerning epidemiological situation," said Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control [ECDC].

The agency said all EU countries except Cyprus, Estonia, Finland and Greece fell into a "serious concern" category, as did the United Kingdom, up from just seven a month ago.

After Spain became the first European country to officially record a million Covid-19 cases earlier in the week, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Friday the real number of infections was likely more than triple that number.

France followed Spain past the million-case milestone on Friday while Germany hit a fresh daily record of nearly 15,000 new cases, with health authorities urging the public to follow social distancing measures.

Across the planet, Covid-19 has now claimed the lives of 1.1 million people and infected close to 42 million, with the WHO warning the northern hemisphere was at a critical juncture.

"Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close to or above capacity," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.