Europe sees surge in cases, citizens protest restrictive measures

Europe sees surge in cases, citizens protest restrictive measures

With new coronavirus infections surging in European countries, the World Health Organization warns about the seriousness of the situation that is unfolding and does not exclude that the past, a rather frightening, scenario might repeat. WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said that the weekly increase in COVID-19 cases in several European countries is now higher than at the beginning of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March. More than half of European countries have reported a greater than 10-percent increase in cases in the past two weeks,” said Kluge.

The authorities of the United Kingdom, France and Italy have already announced the beginning of the second wave of coronavirus. These countries daily report a record number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Meantime, the WHO stated that more people in the 25-41 age group have recently become infected with COVID-19.

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, reported cases of COVID-19 infection in 188 countries stand at 31,032,045. The global coronavirus death toll stands at 960,729. Number of patients recovered from the disease worldwide exceeded 21.255 million.

The United States remains the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic in terms of both coronavirus cases and deaths. The COVID-19 infected 6,805,342 people and killed 199,511 patients in the U.S. India has the second-highest caseload. The country registered a total of 5,487,580 coronavirus cases. Brazil is the third worst-hit country in the current pandemic with a total of 4,544,629 coronavirus cases, followed by Russia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Argentina, France, Chile and Iran.

Quarantine measures are being reimposed in Europe in response to the rising number of infections. However, there are those who object to the restrictions. Thus, Madrid residents have taken to the streets to protest against restrictive measures imposed by the authorities in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Strict quarantine measures are coming into effect in a number of Madrid districts starting today. The residents can only leave their homes for work, study or medical treatment. Parks are closed, and shops are open only until 10 p.m. Groups of more than six people are not allowed. The authorities say that the spread of COVID-19 in Madrid is twice as high as in other regions.

Meanwhile, the UK authorities are significantly raising fines for those who violate coronavirus restrictions. They will face a fine of 1,000 pounds (US$1,285 or 540,985 tenge)  for the first offense, and up to 10,000 pounds (US$12,850 or 5.4 million tenge) for the repeated offense. British health workers said that no more than 20 percent of the country’s population actually follow the quarantine restrictions and observe self-isolation. Others do not comply with the existing rules. The government sees large fines as an opportunity to prevent another total nationwide lockdown. However, tightening of restrictive measures caused a wave of protests in the country. The demonstrators, who say that rigorous measures violate civil rights, protested against them in London. The demonstration ended in clashes with the police and, as a result, more than 30 people were detained.

Israeli demonstrators took to the streets to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They accuse the government of not responding in time to new coronavirus outbreaks. Protesters gathered in front of the Israeli PM’s residence and demanded his resignation. The protests took place due to the second COVID-19 lockdown. According to the new lockdown rules, residents are not allowed to leave their homes further than 1,000 meters without essential purpose. The number of protests increased with the rise in new coronavirus infections. The COVID-19 infected a total of more than 188,000 people and killed more than 1,200 patients in Israel.