WHO warns Europe virus surge of ‘great concern’
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European countries have unveiled tough new measures to try to curb a surge in coronavirus infections which the World Health Organization warned Thursday is of “great concern”.
Underscoring the disruption wrought by Covid-19 even in the corridors of power, US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris suspended travel after a staffer contracted the disease and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen abruptly left a summit in Brussels for a similar reason.
And in France, police searched the home of the health minister as part of a probe into the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, as new daily cases topped 30,000 for the first time.
A map published Thursday by the EU’s ECDC disease control agency handed a red label for high rates of transmission and positive testing to more than half the 31 countries it monitors, which include non-EU members.
As the disease marches on relentlessly, millions in England are facing tighter restrictions, including a ban on household mixing.
Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth II made a first public appearance outside a royal residence since the start of the pandemic, going unmasked during a visit to a top-secret British government research lab.
Across the Channel, a curfew is to be imposed in Paris and eight other French cities and in Germany there are new limits on people gathering at events.
Announcing a partial lockdown in “red” zones including major cities, Poland’s government asked people to work from home if possible, while Switzerland’s health minister Alain Berset said the situation there “is deteriorating faster than elsewhere”.
Both countries are facing record levels of new infections. (AFP)