Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Europe surpasses 250,000 virus deaths as Israel lifts lockdown




Europe surpasses 250,000 virus deaths as Israel lifts lockdown

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man rides his skateboard past the deserted Lyon rue Merciere during the first night of curfew in France. AFP

Europe surpasses 250,000 virus deaths as Israel lifts lockdown

Europe passed the milestone of 250,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday as Israel and Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne began to gradually ease their strict lockdowns.

European nations have ratcheted up restrictions on daily life to tackle soaring infections, with a 44 per cent increase in cases this week.

Nighttime curfews on millions came into force in France this weekend and Switzerland required all its citizens to wear masks in indoor public places.

But Israel has managed to flatten its outbreak through draconian measures including a ban on travelling more than a kilometre from home.

The government lifted that restriction on Sunday and reopened kindergartens, beaches and national parks.

In Australia, Melbourne has managed to control its upsurge in cases and officials were able to allow the city’s five million inhabitants to leave their homes for more than two hours a day for the first time in three months.

While people will be allowed to travel up to 25km from home if they have valid reasons, restaurants and other businesses in Melbourne remain closed.

In Europe however, the increase in cases is reaching alarming levels.

Europe’s death toll makes it the second-hardest hit region after Latin America and the Caribbean, where fatalities have surpassed 350,000.

The UK remains Europe’s worst-affected country in terms of deaths, accounting for almost one-fifth of fatalities on the continent.

It continues to struggle against the virus, with local officials resisting attempts by ministers to impose restrictions by region.

France counted nearly 30,000 new cases on Sunday, close to Saturday’s record 32,427 cases. Some 1,900 Covid-19 patients are currently occupying intensive care unit beds, out of France’s total capacity of 5,800.

The government has introduced a 9pm-6am curfew for at least a month in nine cities including Paris, affecting 20 million people.

Those flouting the curfew face a fine of €135 ($158) unless they can prove they have a valid reason to be out.

The measures fall short of the blanket confinements imposed in many countries earlier in the year – but raise fears of new, severe restrictions across the continent.

In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced a series of new measures to tackle the rising number of virus cases, with restrictions placed on bars and restaurants and a push to increase working from home.

Arrivals at schools will also be staggered to help with social distancing and local festivals and fairs banned.

Two weeks ago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had declared her country had beaten the virus again – but a new community case of Covid-19 has now been confirmed, punching a hole in her assertion.

Ardern’s Labour Party won a landslide election victory on Saturday, with her government’s handling of the pandemic widely credited as a factor.

In South Africa Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, adding to over 700,000 cases registered in the country.

He is the fifth member of the government to contract Covid-19.

South Africa accounts for around 43 per cent of the virus cases on the African continent.

Meanwhile, a new study in Japan has found that the coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours.

In comparison, the pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours, according to the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

They concluded that frequent hand washing is the best way to combat the pandemic.

The study said: “The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there