Europe imposes fresh restrictions as cases soar

Infection's numbers across the continent are steadily on rise

Large parts of Europe on Friday geared up for broad new restrictions to stop the coronavirus as numbers across the continent are steadily on rise, news wires reported. Last week Europe recorded 54,000 infections in a single day, which was a new record.

Starting from Friday Britain is limiting gatherings, while France is set to roll out new curbs for major cities. Spain was also readying new measures as capital of Madrid said it had been overwhelmed by the virus and called for "decisive" action from the central government. The Czech Republic recorded over 3,000 new cases on Friday and started considering new restrictions.

WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said a surge seen this month “should serve as a wake-up call”. "Although the numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," Kluge told an online news conference from Copenhagen.

In Britain, new curbs will take effect Friday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that pubs may have to close earlier to help avoid a "second hump" of infections. About two million people in northeast England, including in the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland, will no longer be allowed to meet people outside their homes. Only table service will be allowed in bars and entertainment venues will have to close by 10pm.

French authorities are also preparing tighter restrictions in several cities to curtail a resurgence that has seen nearly 10,000 new cases per day in the past week. Health minister Olivier Veran said Lyon and Nice would be under new rules by Saturday, after curbs on public gatherings were imposed this week in Bordeaux and Marseille.

Israel is set to become the first developed country in the world to enforce a second nationwide shutdown, beginning Friday afternoon. The move sparked protests in Tel Aviv late Thursday when hundreds took to the streets against the restrictions, which are set to take effect just hours before Jewish New Year and will cover other religious holidays including Yom Kippur.

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