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The virus is at a “turning point” in Europe, hitting risk groups

MILAN (AP) – Doctors warn that Europe is at a turning point as the coronavirus returns across the continent, including among vulnerable people, and governments try to impose restrictions without blocking entire economies.

With newly confirmed records reaching records, the World Health Organization warned on Friday that intensive care units in a number of European cities could reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks.

In response to the wave, the Czech Republic has closed schools and built a field hospital, Poland has limited restaurant hours and closed gyms and schools, and France is planning a curfew at 9pm in Paris and other major cities. In Britain, authorities are closing pubs and bars in areas north of the country, while placing restrictions on communication in London and other parts of the country.

Europe is not alone in seeing a renaissance. In the United States, new cases are increasing daily in 44 statesand deaths per day rise after 30.

“If we do not deal with this, we risk falling into a situation that is more difficult to control,”

; Bertrand Levrat, head of the largest hospital complex in Switzerland, told the Associated Press. “We are really at a turning point – things can go both ways.”

But while officials worry about rising cases, they are also wary of enforcing the tougher national conclusions that devastated their economies this spring. Instead, they try more targeted restrictions.

France has 12,000 additional police officers to impose the new curfew; On Saturday night, for the first time, restaurants will be forced to close at 9 p.m. Restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how they can survive forced closures.

A chain of movie theaters will open at 8 a.m. in hopes of making up for the evening’s losses. As Parisian restaurants usually open at 7pm or 7.30pm, for dinner, some may close altogether, as it no longer makes financial sense to stay open for such a short shift.

“The French cultural world is not invincible, it needs help,” author and director Joan Sfar, who is releasing a new film, told RTL radio on Friday.

Italy, the first non-Asian country to detect local transmission of the virus, has banned pickup sports and public gatherings after health officials said the revival had reached an “acute phase” after a period of relative grace following a particularly severe blockade.

The governor of Campania, who was spared mostly in the spring but saw the contagion rising rapidly, called for swift action, noting that the area around Naples is the most densely populated in the country.

“Half the measures no longer cost anything,” Vincenzo de Luca said in a Facebook video. He has already announced the closure of schools by the end of the month, against Rome’s wishes.

Massimo Galli, director of infectious diseases at Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, said the Italian tide was not the result of record tests, as politicians suggest, but a sign of real return among the population most at risk of developing a serious illness. if infected.

This is a worrying trend, as the influx of serious cases has the potential to confuse hospitals, and this can be seen in other countries on the continent, as many see even higher numbers than Italy.

France, Spain and the United Kingdom have registered more than 300 infections per 100,000 population in the last two weeks, compared to accelerating but relatively low Italy 106.

The Czech Republic has reported more than 700 infections per 100,000 people, and the country’s military will begin building a field hospital at Prague’s exhibition center this weekend, a reminder of the dark spring days when many countries set up makeshift facilities to ease pressure on congested medical centers. . The government is also negotiating with neighboring Germany and some other countries to treat Czechs abroad if the health system cannot cope with them.

At a press briefing on Friday, Maria Van Kerhove, WHO’s technical head for COVID-19, expressed concern about the growing number and said they were accompanied by growing hospitalizations, including in intensive care units.

“We know of a number of cities across Europe where intensive care capacity will be reached in the coming weeks,” she said.

But Van Kerchow added that advances in treatment and increased testing capacity put many countries in a better position than they were a few months ago.

In Italy, Milan is the epicenter of the revival and sees that its hospitals are tense.

“We have a situation that reminds a person quite anxiously of the one we have already experienced,” Galli of Milan’s Saco Hospital told the Associated Press, citing a peak in March and April, when Italy reached a record of 969 deaths in one day. On Thursday, the country registered 83 deaths – twice the previous days, but much earlier.

As early as Milan, Gali said the number of elderly patients or those with other risk factors was growing, indicating that the virus had moved beyond its initial expansion in late September, when most cases were mild or asymptomatic, caught by screening and contact tracking.

Since then, mixing between families, within companies and among students outside of school has fueled the spread to more vulnerable people, he said, renewing pressure on hospitals in Milan.

“The trend is already there and it is downright alarming,” he said, although he noted that not all of Italy was experiencing a wave yet.

But that, he said, could only be a matter of time. Galli said Italy would “follow in the footsteps” of its European neighbors unless the transmission chain is blocked for the next two weeks.

He called for more restrictions on public transport and leisure if the authorities want to avoid a new blockade – bad for both the economy and the social fabric.

While the blockade of Italy in the spring took more time, Galli said the current revival shows “how quickly there is a risk of losing results even from very decisive and very important intervention”.


Charlton reports from Paris.


Follow the AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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