WORLD / EUROPE
Europe tops 11m virus cases
Austria, Greece impose lockdowns as frustration mounts
Published: Nov 04, 2020 04:33 PM

Police officers talk with teenagers during a patrol to ensure people follow safety protocols to contain the spread of COVOD-19 in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Europe passed a new bleak milestone Tuesday after reporting more than 11 million coronavirus cases, as Austria and Greece became the latest countries on the continent to impose shutdowns.

Still reeling from a deadly shooting spree in the streets of Vienna on Monday evening, Austria went into partial lockdown while Greece shut down major cities.

They joined Belgium, France, Germany and Ireland in reimposing tough curbs on people's lives in an echo of last spring as the virus that first emerged at the end of 2019 shows no sign of abating.

Meanwhile the Netherlands extended a partial shutdown to museums, cinemas and zoos as the government said new cases were not slowing quickly enough.

Europe has now registered 11,008,465 infections and almost 285,000 deaths according to an AFP tally of official sources on Tuesday.

The stringent new measures that are also set to hit England this week have caused exasperation and anger as experts say Europe risks being hit with further waves of coronavirus infections in 2021 if no effective vaccine is found.

Underscoring the pernicious effect of restrictions on economies, livelihoods and general wellbeing, Spain - where tourism accounts for 13 percent of employment - said the number of foreign visitors plunged by 75 percent during the first nine months of 2020.

The aviation industry has also been hard-hit.

In the Netherlands, KLM pilots agreed to a five-year pay cut to unblock a planned bailout of the struggling airline.

The Spanish government meanwhile said it would offer a 475 million euro ($553 million) lifeline to Air Europa to help see the airline through the pandemic.

Looking forward, countries are seeking desperately for ways to ease or avoid lockdowns.

The British government is rolling out quick-result coronavirus tests for the entire population of its hard-hit, 500,000-strong city of Liverpool in a pilot scheme that could be scaled up nationwide.

AFP
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