Coronavirus bites back in Europe as Latin America tops 250,000 deaths


PARIS: Global health authorities said Thursday European countries should be able to ride out a surge in coronavirus cases without reimposing full lockdowns, as the World Bank warned the crisis could push 100 million people into extreme poverty.

Worrying spikes in cases reported Thursday in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany showed the pandemic was rebounding across the continent — often due to travel, summer holidays, and parties.

While Italy registered 845 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily tally since May, France reported 4,700 fresh infections — a massive increase on the previous day. Spain s daily increases topped even those of France, and Germany was concerned about its own resurgence.

Despite the rise in cases, a top World Health Organization official said additional lockdowns should not be necessary.

“With the basic nationwide and additional targeted measures, we are in a much better position to stamp out these localized virus flare-ups,” the head of the WHO s European branch, Hans Kluge, told reporters.

“We can manage the virus and keep the economy running and an education system in operation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the virus in Latin America surged past 250,000.

Nine months after the virus began sweeping across the world from China last December, the pandemic has hit the Americas harder than anywhere else.

Latin America and the Caribbean recorded nearly 6.5 million infections and 250,969 deaths by 2200 GMT Thursday, according to an AFP tally based on official national figures. Globally, the virus has claimed at least 788,242 lives.

Brazil is the region s worst-affected country with 3.5 million cases and more than 112,000 deaths.

The South American giant is second only to the United States as the world s worst-hit country.

Peru, where figures released Thursday showed a 30 percent fall in GDP in the second quarter, has registered more than 26,000 deaths.

The crushing economic damage has sprung not just from the virus itself but also from the lockdowns that largely halted business activity across the world.

The United States — where 174,000 people have died — continues to bear the brunt in health terms and is suffering grim economic fallout.

The number of Americans filing claims for joblessness each week topped one million again, US officials said on Thursday, an increase on the previous week s figures.

Germany will need to take on yet more debt in 2021 to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.

“Next year we will continue to be forced to suspend the debt rule and spend considerable funds to protect the health of citizens and stabilize the economy,” Scholz said in an interview with the Funke media group, referring to Germany s cherished policy of keeping a balanced budget.


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