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Faced with second wave, Europe tightens virus measures
Tourists sunbathe at Palmanova Beach on the Island of Mallorca on July 27, 2020. Tour operator TUI has cancelled all British holidays to mainland Spain from today until August 9, after the UK government's decision to require travellers returning from the country to quarantine.
STAR/ File

Faced with second wave, Europe tightens virus measures

(Agence France-Presse) - July 28, 2020 - 7:47am

PARIS, France — Fresh outbreaks of the coronavirus have led many European countries to tighten measures as they battle to prevent its spread again.

Here is an overview of recent developments, including localised lockdowns and obligations to wear face masks among others:

Spain

The number of daily notified cases has climbed to 1,738 or 92 percent more than the previous week.

From July 17, almost four million residents in Spain's second city Barcelona have been urged to stay home by the Catalan regional government.

The government also ordered the closure of cinemas, theatres and nightclubs and banned gatherings of more than 10 people. Restaurants must limit capacity to one-half the usual number.

Since July 15, people have also been told to stay home in and around the Catalan city of Lerida, a measure affecting around 250,000 people. 

Faced with a resurgence of infections, many Spanish regions, although not Madrid, have tightened the requirement to wear masks.

In those regions, masks must now be worn at all times in the street and in enclosed public spaces.

Portugal

Lisbon has reported 218 daily cases, a decline of 28 percent from the previous week. 

Lockdown at home has been the rule since July 1 for 700,000 inhabitants in the capital region.

That measure has been extended at least until the end of July.

Britain

London has reported 662 daily cases, a weekly decline of 12 percent.

Britain is the only western European country where the number of daily deaths remains high however, at around 65 per day.

On June 30, the central city of Leicester began a localised two-week lockdown with non-essential shops shutting. The restriction had now been partially eased.

Facemasks -- already compulsory in Scotland -- are now also mandatory in all English shops and supermarkets as of July 24.

On July 26, Britain introduced a quarantine for visitors from Spain.

Ireland

Dublin has reported 17 daily cases, a decline of nine percent.

Having initially planned to open bars fully from July 13, the date was pushed back to August 10 owing to a resurgence of cases. Gatherings are limited to 50 people indoors and 200 outdoors, and wearing masks in shops will be compulsory.

France

Paris has reported 823 daily cases, an increase of 55 percent.

A negative virus test will become mandatory at the latest on August 1 for visitors from 16 countries, including the United States, Brazil and Algeria. Otherwise travellers are to be tested on arrival and go into quarantine if positive.

The authorities have advised against travel to Catalonia.

Belgium

Brussels has reported 318 daily cases, a surge of 149 percent.

From July 29, and for four weeks, the number of people who can gather together has been reduced to five from 15.

Public events are limited to 100 people indoors, instead of 200 previously, and 200 outside, instead of 400.

Wearing a mask was made compulsory from July 11 for everyone over the age of 12 in enclosed public spaces including shops, cinemas, libraries and places of worship.

Germany

Berlin has reported 528 daily cases, an increase of 33 percent.

Despite being less affected by the pandemic than many neighbours, Germany's federal and regional governments have agreed on tougher, targeted lockdown measures to contain local outbreaks and ward off the threat of a second coronavirus wave, including a ban on travel "in and out of the affected areas."

Austria

Vienna has reported 127 daily cases, a rise of 18 percent

On July 24, masks became mandatory in supermarkets, post offices, banks and medical centres.

Italy

Rome has reported 241 daily cases, an increase of 23 percent. 

In Campania in the southern Naples region, a 1,000-euro ($1,180) fine was imposed on July 25 in establishments that allow clients to go without masks.

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February 26, 2021 - 2:05pm

Japan will end a coronavirus state of emergency early in some regions as the pace of infection slows, reports say, less than five months before the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The emergency measure -- currently in force in 10 regions including Tokyo -- is looser than the strict lockdowns seen elsewhere in the world, and primarily calls for bars and restaurants to close from 8pm.

It is due to end on March 7, but the government will lift the measure this Sunday, just over a week early, in around six prefectures, the reports say. — AFP

February 26, 2021 - 8:45am

Brazil's death toll from Covid-19 surpasses a quarter-million Thursday, a year after the first case was confirmed in the country, which is struggling with vaccine shortages and a devastating second wave.

The new coronavirus has now killed 251,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures — the second-highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the number passed half a million Monday.

This has been the deadliest week yet of the pandemic in Brazil, with a daily average of 1,149 deaths over the past seven days, according to the ministry's figures. —  AFP

February 24, 2021 - 1:05pm

Fashionistas will have to log on to soak up the glamour at Milan Fashion Week, which remains online a year after the coronavirus first swept into northern Italy. 

No sharply dressed crowds will attend the extravaganza's opening on Wednesday: it's virtual catwalk shows only, with the likes of Armani and Prada presenting new women's collections for autumn and winter 2021-22. — AFP

February 23, 2021 - 11:31am

Movie theaters in New York City will partially reopen next month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announces, the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Big Apple.

Cuomo says cinemas will be able to operate at 25% capacity, or up to 50 people per screen, from March 5 -- almost exactly a year since they shut. — AFP

February 21, 2021 - 5:39pm

The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday appeals to Tanzania to take "robust action" to combat COVID-19 in the country, where the president has long played down the virus.

President John Magufuli has claimed coronavirus has been has fended off by prayer in Tanzania, and refused to take measures to curb its spread. 

But a recent spate of deaths attributed to pneumonia has struck both members of the public and government officials.

And Magufuli on Friday appeared to admit the coronavirus was circulating in his country after months of denial.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a number of Tanzanians traveling to neighboring countries and beyond have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"This underscores the need for Tanzania to take robust action both to safeguard their own people and protect populations in these countries and beyond," he said in a statement.

Tedros said he had urged Tanzania in late January to take measures against the pandemic and to prepare for vaccinations.

"Since then I have spoken with several authorities in Tanzania but WHO is yet to receive any information regarding what measures Tanzania is taking to respond to the pandemic. — AFP

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