Coronavirus digest: Madrid declares state of emergency | News | DW | 09.10.2020
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Coronavirus digest: Madrid declares state of emergency

The rate of infection in the Spanish capital is twice the national average and five times higher than Europe's. The national government declared an emergency so it could reimpose restrictions struck down locally.

The Spanish government declared a state of emergency in and around the capital Madrid to enforce a partial lockdown, after the city's government had moved to overturn restrictions in court.

"The government has decided to declare a state of emergency…for the next 15 days," said Health Minister Salvador Illa after an urgent cabinet meeting.

The city had seen a 14-day infection rate of 563 cases per 100,000 people, which is more than twice the national average and five times the European rate.

"Protecting the health of Madrid's people is absolutely essential," said Illa, who said that 66 people had died in the city in the past week and about 500 were "fighting for their lives in intensive care."

Residents will not be allowed to leave their municipalities without proper justification, including to see a doctor or go to work. The move affects 4.8 million residents in the city and nine suburban towns.

Friday's declaration follows a clash between Spain's government and city authorities in Madrid. Similar restrictions had been in place for much of the city in recent weeks. However, the regional government challenged them in court, and they were struck down on Thursday. In response, the federal government has effectively reimposed the restriction by declaring a state of emergency.

"We have only one objective: to protect Madrid. If the region cannot do it, we will," said deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo.

Health Minister Illa said, "action is needed, and today we couldn't just stand by and do nothing."

Americas

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was at a "tipping point" in the pandemic on Friday.

"Not only is the second wave under way, [but] yesterday we hit the highest daily record for cases, well above what we saw this spring," said Trudeau.

Health officials project between 10,000 and 20,000 new cases will be recorded in the country by next Saturday.

"I know this is discouraging…the increase in new cases is putting an enormous pressure on hospitals and health care workers, who are more and more swamped," said Trudeau.

Almost 80% of Canada's cases have been recorded in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said there would be new restrictions in the province starting Saturday. Indoor gyms and cinemas will be closed. Restaurants will not be allowed to serve food indoors. The measures will last for at least 28 days.

Ford said if trends continued the province could experience "worst-case scenarios" that were seen in northern Italy and New York City earlier in the pandemic.

"If I didn’t make this decision now, I would be negligent," said Ford.

Asia

China has said it will formally join the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine initiative, COVAX, which aims to deliver 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not specify the level of support, although President Xi Jinping in May pledged to provide $2 billion in aid to fight the pandemic.

China would be the biggest economy so far to join COVAX, which helps finance vaccine doses for developing countries. Russia and the US have so far chosen not to join. 

Read moreUS won't join WHO-led effort for coronavirus vaccine

Europe

Germany saw the number of daily infections rise again on Friday. Health officials reported 4,516 cases in the country, according to statistics published by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health authority. The number of new infections was 4,058 on Thursday and 2,828 on Wednesday. A total of 314,660 people in Germany were confirmed infected with COVID-19 and 9,589 have died of it, including 11 people in the last 24 hours.

Read more: Health officials warn coronavirus could spread 'out of control'

France's Health Ministry on Friday reported in excess of 20,000 cases in a 24-hour period for the first time ever. The number of people in intensive care with COVID-19 also rose by 21 to 1,448. However, this is a far cry from the more than 7,000 people in intensive care in April when France's hospitals were overwhelmed during the first wave. At that point, with far less widespread testing, most of the identified cases were more serious and a large number of mild cases are thought to have gone unrecorded. 

Read moreCoronavirus digest: France and UK set record daily figures

A UK study has found that 86% of people infected with coronavirus did not show symptoms on the day they were tested. These include cough, fever or loss of taste or smell.

The study by University College London tested 36,061 people for coronavirus between April and June. Of the 115 with a positive result, only 16 reported symptoms, with 99 not reporting any specific symptoms on the day of the test.

Researchers said the UK policy of only testing people with symptoms might miss many cases. 

"More widespread testing will help to capture 'silent' transmission and potentially prevent future outbreaks," said lead researcher Irene Petersen.

Watch video 12:05

Preparations get underway for a second wave

kbd, wmr/msh  (AP, Reuters)

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