Europe battles to contain virus second wave as global cases top 30mn
September 18 2020 11:52 PM
Municipal workers disinfect the entrance of a health center in the Usera district of Madrid
Municipal workers disinfect the entrance of a health center in the Usera district of Madrid


A host of European countries imposed new local restrictions Friday to reduce spiralling new cases of coronavirus.
City authorities in Madrid announced a partial lockdown on nearly a million people, the British government unveiled new measures limiting social contact in several regions, while Ireland banned indoor dining at restaurants and pubs in Dublin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was "no question" that his country was "now seeing a second wave coming in" as he toured the site of a new vaccine centre.
"We are seeing it in France, in Spain, across Europe — it has been absolutely, I'm afraid, inevitable we were going to see it in this country," he added.
In France, where new daily cases hit a fresh record of 13,000 Friday, the government is struggling to create enough testing capacity as new hotspots emerge daily.
The city of Nice on the Riviera banned groups of more than 10 people meeting on its beach, in parks or public gardens.
Worldwide the respiratory disease has killed nearly 947,000 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP, while more than 30.2mn cases have been registered.
"We're adding about 1.8 to 2mn cases per week to the global case count, and an average somewhere between 40,000 to 50,000 deaths," WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference.
"Thankfully that is not rising exponentially. This is a hugely high figure to be settling at. That is not where we want to be."
In Madrid, one of the worst affected areas in Europe during the first wave of Covid-19 in March and April, medics warned that hospitals were getting close to capacity again.
US President Donald Trump said Friday he expects enough Covid-19 vaccines "for every American" will be produced by next April, and that the first doses will be distributed immediately after approval later this year.
Claiming "historic progress" with three vaccines in the final stages of development and trials, Trump said at least 100mn doses would be manufactured by the end of the year — perhaps more.
"Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April," he said.
Trump also vowed to get the vaccine out with lightning speed, saying, "I think distribution will go even quicker than most people think."

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