Oct. 27, 2020 — A French doctor gave a stark warning on Monday that his county has “lost control of the epidemic,” according to The Associated Press, a day after public health officials reported more than 52,000 new coronavirus cases.
Other European countries are facing dire situations as well, with an escalating surge in new cases. France, Spain, and Italy have imposed new restrictions and curfews to attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
“We lost control of the epidemic, but that doesn’t date from yesterday,” Eric Caumes, head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, told Franceinfo.
If the latest restrictions don’t work, he recommended that France shift into lockdown mode again. It will take about 10-15 days to know for sure, he said.
“We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago already,” Caumes said.
France declared a state of emergency in mid-October and has increased restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. The main aim is to halt the pressure on hospitals, where COVID-19 patients take up more than half of the beds in intensive care units, the AP reported.
The country faces a “very difficult, even critical situation,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy, president of the scientific council that advises the French government on COVID-19, told RTL radio.
Even health officials have been surprised by the sharp increase in cases during the past 2 weeks, he said, adding that the second wave will be stronger than the first surge this year.
“There are probably more than 50,000 new cases every day. Our estimate … is closer to 100,000 — twice as many,” he said. “This means the virus is spreading extremely fast.”
The strain has been seen elsewhere in Europe. On Sunday, Spain declared a state of emergency and a nationwide curfew, which includes a travel ban among the hardest-hit regions of the country and a limit of six people in social gatherings. In Italy, protesters in Naples, Rome, and Milan have rallied against curfews and new restrictions that ordered restaurants and bars to close by 6 p.m. and shuttered gyms, pools, and movie theaters, according to the BBC.
British authorities are likely to increase restrictions this week as well, and Russia announced new face masks mandates that will start on Wednesday, the BBC reported. Russian health officials have recommended an overnight curfew and closures of bars and restaurants if cases continue to increase.
Leaders in the Czech Republic are working on a plan this week to recruit 300 military health personnel from other countries to help with an increase in hospitalized patients. Authorities in Prague and in Nuremberg, Germany, are also canceling their world-renowned Christmas markets as coronavirus cases continue to rise, the AP reported.
“This decision is very difficult for us,” Marcus Koenig, the mayor of Nuremberg, said in a statement on Monday. “And yet after long deliberations and to protect the population, we came to the conclusion not to allow the Christkindlesmarkt to take place this year.”WebMD Health News Brief