11 Oct 2020

Alarm as Covid cases soar across Europe and the US

2:26 pm on 11 October 2020

France has recorded its highest ever daily increase in Covid-19 cases while new cases hit a two-month high in the US, as the pandemic tests governments in many parts of the world.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 09: Sports fan and sports hall owners march towards French Health Ministry building from Raul-Dautry Square to protest government's coronavirus (Covid-19) measures  pandemic measures in Paris, France on October 09, 2020.

Gym fans in Paris march towards the French Health Ministry to protest at the closure of their facilities due to the pandemic. Photo: AFP

More than 58,000 infections were reported in the United States as hospitalisations in the Midwest hit record levels for a fifth day in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.

Ten of the 50 states reported record one-day rises in cases, including the Midwestern states of Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio. Wisconsin and Illinois recorded over 3000 new cases for a second day in a row - a two-day trend not seen even during the height of the previous outbreak in the spring, according to Reuters data.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 09: Members of the Wisconsin National Guard test residents for the coronavirus COVID-19 at a temporary test facility set up in the parking lot of the UMOS corporate headquarters on October 09, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A member of the National Guard tests a motorist in Wisconsin, which has one of the highest Covid-19 rates in the US. Photo: AFP

The Western states of Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming also reported their biggest one-day jumps in cases, as did Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Nineteen states have seen record increases in new cases so far in October.

While deaths nationally continue to trend downward, the United States is losing on average 700 lives a day. Three states reported a record one-day increase in fatalities: Arkansas, Missouri and Montana. Health experts caution that deaths are a lagging indicator and usually rise weeks after cases climb.

The US death toll now stands at 213, 037.

The number of people who succumb to Covid-19 is expected to accelerate as the US enters winter.

More than 26,000 cases in one day in France

The number of new coronavirus infections in France jumped by over 26,000 in one day for the first time since the start of the epidemic, health ministry data showed.

The ministry reported 26,896 new infections, taking the cumulative total to 718,873 since the start of the year. The number of deaths increased by 54 to 32,684.

Ireland has reported 1012 new cases, the highest number in a day since the start of the pandemic and almost double the average for the past week.

The surge, after a week in which regions of neighbouring Northern Ireland reported some of the highest infection rates in Europe, is likely to increase pressure on the government to impose additional restrictions.

A woman wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exits a tram in Dublin on September 18, 2020,

A woman leaves a train in Dublin, Ireland. The country's cases are on the rise again. Photo: AFP

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said in a statement that he was "very worried about the numbers we are seeing and how quickly they are deteriorating".

The government last Monday banned indoor restaurant dining nationwide and limited the number of visitors to people's homes.

But it rejected a recommendation from public health officials to impose a much stricter lockdown.

The United Kingdom recorded 15,166 new cases, a rise on the 13,864 cases reported the day before, government data showed.

A further 81 people died after testing positive for the virus within 28 days, the latest daily figures showed.

Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appealed for unity after the far-right Vox party said it would take legal action against a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid to contain one of Europe's worst outbreaks.

Poland announced new measures to curb the pandemic after reporting record infections for a fifth straight day, but it stopped short of introducing mandatory distance learning for schools.

Russia, Portugal and the Netherlands reported record daily case increases.

Africa needs billions

The economic damage as well as the health costs caused by coronavirus has left Africa needing £920 billion ($NZ1798b) over the next three years, the International Monetary Fund has said.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said the world "must do more to support Africa to [recover]... from this crisis".

Africa has had fewer Covid infections and deaths than most other continents.

But the World Bank says 43 million more Africans are at risk of extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic.

A child holds a sibling while carrying a food parcel received from the grassroots charity Hunger has no Religion in Johannesburg, on May 25, 2020  (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

A girl collects a food parcel from a food bank in Johannesburg. Photo: AFP

The economic impact is reversing the trend in recent years of strong growth in Africa, as jobs have been lost and family incomes have been reduced by 12 percent, Georgieva told a virtual IMF meeting.

To help soften the blow, many African governments have introduced mitigation policies which have cost 2.5 percent of GDP, she added.

Meanwhile, mask wearing has become mandatory in public in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and violators will be fined, President Hassan Rouhani announced as the country battles a third wave of coronavirus infections.

- Reuters

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