Masks and checks on travelers are becoming more common in Europe.

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In England, the obligation to wear the mask in shops and supermarkets has entered into force (archives). KEYSTONE / AP / Alberto Pezzali sda-ats

This content was published on July 24, 2020 – 9:16 PM

(ATS)
Masks and passenger checks to fight Covid-19 are becoming widespread in Europe. For its part, the WHO said Friday it was “worried” about the resurgence of the epidemic in some countries in the region, even if the American continent remains the most affected.

Belgium broke a sad record on Friday: a three-year-old girl died of Covid-19 a few days ago, health authorities announced, making her the youngest victim of the virus in this country which is experiencing a increase in contamination, with 64,847 cases.

In England, the obligation to wear the mask in shops and supermarkets has come into force. The same goes for supermarkets in Vienna, but also in post offices, banks and medical centers.

On Friday, the European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on European countries to remain responsive and lift restrictions “carefully” or even to reintroduce them if necessary. “The recent resurgence of Covid-19 cases in some countries after the relaxation of distancing measures is certainly a cause for concern,” a spokeswoman told AFP. Europe totaled 207,118 deaths on Friday for more than 3 million cases, according to a count compiled by AFP.

More controlled travelers

Several countries in the region have tightened checks on travelers. Thus Germany has decided to offer free tests to travelers returning to the country, while France has made tests compulsory for travelers arriving from 16 countries, including the United States and Algeria.

Prime Minister Jean Castex also recommended that the French “avoid” traveling to Catalonia, in northeastern Spain, where the government has ordered nightclubs and bars to close. For its part, Norway has again imposed restrictions on travel with Spain, where the Covid-19 epidemic is on the rise again.

In total, 633,711 people have died from Covid-19 around the world. And it is on the American continent that the situation remains the most worrying. In the United States, the milestone of 4 million official cases is now exceeded, 1,225 new deaths were recorded on Friday.

Long accused of denial of the pandemic, Donald Trump has renounced the Republican convention scheduled for the end of August in Florida. The US president recently admitted a “worrying increase in cases” in the south of the country.

Jair Bolsonaro sans masque

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the threshold of four million cases has also been crossed. Brazil alone now has more than 2.2 million cases. This did not prevent Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, infected with the coronavirus, from riding his motorbike on Thursday and discussing, without a mask, with sweepers near his residence in Brasilia, according to photos released in the media.

Due to the spread of the epidemic, Bolivia announced the postponement to October 18 of the general elections scheduled for September 6.

The situation is particularly dramatic in Ecuador, where the health system in the country’s second city, Arequipa, is totally saturated. Some infected people have been seen sleeping in tents outside hospitals, others in their cars, hoping to get beds and be treated. In Peru, authorities hoped to reopen Machu Picchu on Friday but had to give up in the face of the continued rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Fear lurks

According to the Red Cross, the devastating economic toll of the pandemic may also trigger new waves of migration once the borders reopen.

Elsewhere in the world, the figures also continue to rise. In India, 740 new deaths attributed to Covid-19 were recorded in 24 hours, according to an official report on Friday. With 30,000 deaths, the country becomes the sixth with the most deaths, behind the United States, Brazil, Great Britain, Mexico and Italy.

Several countries have chosen to re-impose partial containment measures. The approximately 10 million inhabitants of Tokyo have been invited to stay at home since Thursday, the first day of a long holiday weekend in Japan.

And in South Africa, public schools have closed their doors for a month, in a country which has seen an almost 60% rise in the total number of natural deaths in recent weeks.

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