Concern in France as Covid-19 cases soar
France said Covid-19 hospitalisations are rising rapidly and Spain reported the highest number of coronavirus cases since April, signalling another worrisome turn in Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron was meeting officials on Friday to discuss how to curb the surge in infections without endangering economic recovery. France recorded close to 10,000 cases on Thursday, the most since the lockdown ended in May. Spain, which has the most cases in Europe, reported 4,708 new infections over 24 hours, the most since mid-April.
Macron said his government has important decisions to make to contain the disease, which is circulating actively in major cities including Marseille and Lyon.
The uptick led to Europe surpassing the US in daily cases and making it a global hot spot again.
UK city tightens curbs
Authorities in Birmingham announced new coronavirus restrictions on Friday as the UK’s viral reproduction rate, or ‘R’ number, exceeded 1.0 for the first time since March.
From next Tuesday, more than 1.1 million people will be banned from mixing with any other household, after the rate of infection in Birmingham rose from 30 to 75 cases per 100,000 people over a week in August.
US: North Korea issues shoot-to-kill orders
North Korea has issued shoot-to-kill orders to prevent the virus from entering the country from China, according to the commander of US forces in South Korea.
The North has not confirmed a single case of the disease that has swept the world since first emerging in China. Pyongyang closed its border with China in January.
US Forces Korea commander Robert Abrams said that the border shutdown had increased demand for smuggled goods, prompting authorities to intervene. Abrams told a conference organised by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Thursday, “They’ve got North Korean SOF (Special Operations Forces) out there. Strike forces, they’ve got shoot-to-kill orders in place.”
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- The UN migration and refugee agencies said in a joint statement that the dead were among at least 120 migrants on a dinghy that left Libya on February 18.
- FATF’s latest plenary is also being held at a time when the US has been irked by the Pakistan Supreme Court’s acquittal of terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh, the principal accused in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.