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Europe Coronavirus Updates: France's COVID-19 data improve, Italy's infections plateau; Germany to extend partial lockdown

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:38, November 27, 2020

-- France's COVID-19 data improve;

-- Italy's infections plateau;

-- Germany to extend partial lockdown;

-- England reveals three-tier anti-virus system.

BRUSSELS, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The following are the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in European countries.

PARIS -- France's new COVID-19 infections slowed to 13,563 on Thursday, while hospital admissions continued to fall as the government is unwinding restrictions and planning the vaccination campaign, official data showed.

Thursday's count took France's total number of infections since the outbreak to 2,183,660. The daily tally was down by 2,719 from a day before. Another 339 people died from the coronavirus, bringing the toll to 50,957.

As of Thursday, some 29,310 people were hospitalized, 662 fewer than the previous day, while some 4,018 required life support, down by 130.

Early Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters that pressure from the epidemic is weakening more in France than in other European nations.

The virus reproduction rate, the "R" rate, is now at 0.65 countrywide, the same level France had reached when it emerged from a three-month confinement in mid-May, he added.

ROME -- The coronavirus mortality rate in Italy continued to climb while the rate of new infections inched lower, though health experts warned against relaxing restrictions.

There were 29,003 new infections in Italy recorded Thursday, an increase from 25,851 a day earlier, but the daily figure stayed below 33,000 for the 10th time in 13 days since the infection rate topped 40,000 on Nov. 13.

The GIMBE Foundation, a health sector observatory group, reported Thursday that for the first time since the start of the second coronavirus wave in September, the weekly number of infections declined, totaling 216,950 for the week ending Nov. 24, a decline from the previous weekly total.

But GIMBE Foundation President Nino Cartabellotta warned that the apparent progress on the infection rate did not mean the government should ease coronavirus health restrictions when it releases its next coronavirus decree on Dec. 3.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appeared to heed scientific warnings, telling the Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica that the new decree would exercise "great caution" while balancing health concerns and the popular desire for Italians to visit family over the December holidays.

Other key indicators that are positive include a decline of the number of patients in intensive care units, the fourth time since mid-October.

BERLIN -- Addressing the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday confirmed the extension of the partial COVID-19 lockdown in the country into December.

Following rising COVID-19 infection rates in the country, the federal and state governments decided on Wednesday that the partial lockdown, including the closure of restaurants, bars, theaters and leisure facilities, would be extended until Dec. 20.

Furthermore, private meetings with friends and families are limited to five people from two households, according to the government.

An exception would be made during the Christmas holidays, when gatherings with relatives or friends should be limited to ten people.

On Thursday, the number of new COVID-19 infections in Germany increased by 22,268 cases in one day to a total of 983,588, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The daily fatality rate related to COVID-19 also remained high and increased by 389 in 24 hours to a total of 15,160, according to the RKI.

LONDON -- Most of England will face harsh coronavirus restrictions in the new three-tier system when the lockdown ends next week, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday.

Large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, including Greater Manchester, as well as Kent, will face the toughest restrictions in Tier Three, according to Hancock.

A majority of areas previously in the highest tier, including London and Liverpool city region, are listed in Tier Two.

The Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are the only areas of England placed in Tier One, the lowest level of restrictions.

Under Tier One, people in the areas will be urged to work from home wherever possible.

In Tier Two areas, pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals along with alcoholic drinks.

In Tier Three areas, all pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-through. Hotels and indoor entertainment venues must also close in these areas.

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