European Countries Announce New Coronavirus Restrictions


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European countries announced new coronavirus restrictions Friday, one day after the World Health Organization warned infections have started to spread again across the continent at "alarming rates."

In Spain, which has more cases than any other European country with more than 620,000, the regional government of Madrid ordered a lockdown effective Monday in some of the more impoverished areas after a spike in infections there. While movement in the area will be restricted, people will still be allowed to go to work.

Authorities in Nice, France, have banned gatherings of more than 10 people in public spaces and cut bar operating hours, after new restrictions were imposed earlier this week in Bordeaux and Marseilles.

Britain said it is considering a new national lockdown after cases nearly doubled to 6,000 a day in the latest reporting week. British Health Minister Matt Hancock said another lockdown should be a last resort but that the government would do whatever is necessary to contain the virus.

New lockdown in Israel

Israel begins a second lockdown Friday because of a sharp jump in the number of coronavirus cases.

The three-week-long restrictions come just as the country is set to begin the Jewish holidays.

Israelis are allowed to travel no more than 500 meters from their houses. Exceptions include those purchasing medicine, seeking medical services, "helping someone in distress," transferring a minor between parents, and obtaining "essential treatment for animals."

And in Iran, a senior Iranian official said the country should be on "red alert" after it reported 3,049 new cases Friday, the highest daily gain since early June.

"The color classification doesn't make any sense anymore," Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said in an interview with Reuters. "We no longer have orange and yellow. The entire country is red."

India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Friday that 96,424 new infections and more than 1,000 COVID-related deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

In North America, Canada has decided to extend the closure of the border its shares with the United States to non-essential travel until October 21, after seeing an increase in infections in recent weeks. Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday such decisions would continue to be based on public health advice to protect its citizens. The closing was first announced on March 18 and have been extended each month since.

US minorities affected

And in the U.S., the U.S. data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week revealed that members of minorities younger than 21 years old are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 compared with white Americans in the same age group.

Between February 21 and July 31, 121 people younger than 21 died of the disease, according to data compiled from 27 states. More than 75% of those young people were Hispanic, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, even though they represent 41% of the U.S. population.

The CDC report also found that 75% of those who died had at least one underlying health condition such as asthma, obesity, neurologic and developmental conditions or cardiovascular conditions.

Researchers pointed out that certain social conditions, including crowded living environments, food and housing insecurity, and wealth and education gaps, could be contributing factors in the high fatality rates among minority children.

Vaccine trust tumbles

Nearly half of Americans, or 49%, said they definitely or probably would not get an inoculation if a coronavirus vaccine were available today, while 51% said they would, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted earlier this month.

The 49% who lean toward rejecting the inoculation cited concerns about side effects from the vaccine.

On Friday, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center reported there are more than 30 million COVID-19 infections worldwide and almost 950,000 deaths.

The United States has more cases than anywhere else in the world with 6.6 million, followed by India with 5.1 million cases and Brazil with 4.4 million.