COVID-19 surges back in Europe

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WORLD Health Organisation yesterday warned of resurgent rate of COVID-19 across Europe.

  Cautioning governments against shortening quarantine periods as countries in the region scrambled to find ways to reduce infections without resorting to new lockdowns, WHO described it as “alarming rates of transmission.”

  According to WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, a September surge is imminent in Europe that set a new record last week with some 54,000 cases recorded in 24 hours, unless all answers that wake-up call it requires.

  “Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” he told an online news conference from Copenhagen.

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  In Britain, new restrictions will take effect today with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that pubs may have to close earlier to help avoid a “second hump” of coronavirus cases.

  Residents of northeast England, including the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland, will no longer be allowed to meet people outside their own homes or immediate social circles.

  The government already imposed rules across England on Monday limiting socialising to groups of six or fewer, as daily cases reached levels not seen since early May.

  Britain has been Europe’s worst-hit country, with the government registering nearly 42,000 deaths.

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  The city of Madrid meanwhile backtracked on a plan for targeted lockdowns and said it would instead move to “reduce mobility and contacts” in areas with high infection rates.

  WHO Europe said the UN health body would not change its guidance calling for a 14-day quarantine period for those exposed to the virus.

  The recommendation is “based on our understanding of the incubation period and transmission of the disease. We would only revise that on the basis of a change of our understanding of the science,” WHO Europe’s senior emergency officer Catherine Smallwood said.

  France has reduced the recommended length for self-isolation to seven days, while it is 10 days in the UK and Ireland. Several more European countries, such as Portugal and Croatia, are also considering shorter quarantines.

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