Covid-19: Cases surge across Europe as Paris bars close and Madrid goes into lockdown.

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Bars in Paris have been ordered to close for two weeks, Madrid residents may no longer leave their city as governments struggle to contain a Europe-wide surge in Covid-19 cases.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that rising coronavirus infections across Europe were underlining the need to implement the agreed €750 billion of recovery funds quickly.

“The new normal in times of the coronavirus pandemic requires that we remain vigilant and adapt our daily routine to the development of the pandemic,” Scholz said ahead of a virtual meeting with fellow finance ministers from European Union member states.

“The sharp rise in infections also underlines the need to implement Europe’s ambitious recovery programme timely and to set the right course to Europe’s future,” added Scholz, whose country currently holds the presidency of the 27-member bloc.

More than 35.27 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,038,062 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Here are the latest updates on the virus from around the world:


As infections in the Paris area rose to 270 for every 100,000 people - and as high as 500 for every 100,000 among 20- to 30-year-olds - with 36 per cent of intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, the city’s police chief said bars must close from Tuesday.

Outlining measures he described as a “balance between assuring the health of our fellow citizens and the reality and necessity of economic and social life”, Didier Lallement said the French capital and its surrounding Ile-de-France region were necessary because “the epidemic is moving too fast”.

Restaurants, defined as establishments “whose main activity is serving food”, can continue to open as long as they observe new rules, he said. These include gel sanitiser on all tables, limiting customers to six to a table with a metre between seats, allowing them to remove masks only to eat, and recording their names and contact details.

France reported nearly 17,000 new cases on Saturday, the highest daily number since widespread testing began. Aurelien Rousseau, director of the regional health agency, said that figure included an average 3,500 new cases every day in and around Paris.

Of more than 200 new regional clusters, Rousseau said about 40 per cent emerged from schools and universities, 26 per cent from workplaces and 10 per cent from private gatherings. The region’s residents should return to home working as much as possible, he said.


In Spain, authorities in the north-western region of Castilla y Leon said the cities of Palencia and Leon would follow the capital, Madrid, and nine nearby municipalities into partial lockdown for a fortnight from Tuesday, meaning people can only enter or exit the areas for work or on medical grounds.

In the capital, the limited lockdown has led to a clash between the regional and central authorities. Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government imposed the measures after the conservative-led regional government of Madrid voted against them, claiming it had the situation under control.

Although the administration of the Madrid president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has said it will obey the lockdown, it is appealing against the central government’s decision in court. To date, Spain has logged 813,412 cases of Covid-19 – more than a quarter of them in the Madrid region, which also accounts for almost a third of the country’s 32,225 deaths.


Russia, which has the fourth-highest number of cases worldwide, recorded a rise in cases on Monday close to its May record, but has so far stopped short of reimposing strict lockdown measures. The government confirmed 10,888 new infections, approaching the 11,656 recorded on 11 May.

More than 3,500 were in the capital, Moscow, where the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, has told those over-65 to stay at home and ordered companies to have at least 30 per cent of staff working from home from Monday. The Kremlin said it was aware of no immediate plans to impose a second lockdown.


In Brussels, the president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, 62, said she would self-isolate for a day after learning she had met someone infected with Covid-19 last week. The European council president, Charles Michel, had to follow the same procedure and postpone a leaders’ summit for a week earlier this year.

Beyond Europe, Iran registered a record high 3,902 new cases in the past 24 hours, with the total number of identified cases in the worst-hit country in the Middle East rising to 475,674, according to state TV, while 235 patients died.


In the US, theNew York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, asked the state for permission to close schools and reinstate restrictions on non-essential businesses in several neighbourhoods after a resurgence of the virus.

If approved, about 300 schools would close from Wednesday, Mr de Blasio said. Indoor dining – which resumed just a few days ago – would be suspended, and gyms would close, marking a disheartening retreat for a city that enjoyed a summer with less spread of the virus than most other parts of the US.

“We’ve learned over and over from this disease that it is important to act aggressively, and when the data tells us it’s time for even the toughest and most rigorous actions we follow the data, we follow the science,” he said.


India’s total coronavirus cases rose by 61,267 in the last 24 hours to 6.69 million on Tuesday morning, data from the health ministry showed.

Deaths from COVID-19 infections rose by 884 to 103,569, the ministry said.

India’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose past 100,000 on Saturday, only the third country in the world to reach that bleak milestone, after the United States and Brazil, and its epidemic shows no sign of abating.

Last week, India further eased restrictions and permitted states to open schools and movie theatres. – The Guardian and Reuters

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