Increased restrictions emerged in Europe as officials fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst in the US, President Trump and his wife goes into quarantine after a close aide is found infected with the disease.
Trump’s close White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive earlier in the day, and the president and the First Lady Melania Trump were awaiting the results of their own tests.
“You know I spend a lot of time with Hope, and so does the first lady,” Trump had told Fox News earlier in the evening.
Hicks was on board Air Force One with the president as he travelled to Ohio for the first presidential debate against Democrat Joe Biden, on Tuesday.
And she also joined Trump on his trip to a campaign stop in Minnesota on Wednesday.
The president routinely receives tests for Covid-19, though no one knows how often.
Europe’s virus situation on the rise
Meanwhile, French officials warned that Paris could be put on maximum alert to control the spread of the virus, and Spain extended harsh health restrictions across Madrid.
For the record, by 8:00pm GMT Thursday (3:00am Friday in Thailand) the pandemic had killed at least 1,019,267 people around the globe and infected over 34 million others, according to an official AFP tally.
French authorities said they may place Paris on maximum alert as early as Monday, likely to require all bars and night clubs to shut down as the number of cases soars.
“We’re in a phase where the situation is worsening,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
Next door, Spain, battling the virus’ second wave, put into placer drastic restriction measures across its capital.
Madrid is struggling with a rate of 780 cases per 100,000 people, compared with just 300 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain — which in itself is the highest in the European Union.
In Britain, chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told reporters “things are definitely heading in the wrong direction” as the government extended lockdowns to several towns in northern England, effectively putting more than a quarter of the country under tighter coronavirus restrictions.
The Slovak and Czech governments also decided to impose states of emergency, starting Thursday and next Monday respectively, to allow them to take quick decisions in the face of considerable spread of the infections and deaths.
Whilst in the sports , Italian football suffered a blow with the postponement of Genoa’s weekend match against Torino because team and staff members at the Ligurian club tested positive for the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, European football’s governing body, UEFA, said that it will allow spectators back into matches in the Champions League and its other club and international competitions “at a maximum of 30 percent” capacity.
In Switzerland, stadium crowds also returned for the first time since the pandemic began, but Health Minister Alain Berset said the Alpine country was entering a “delicate phase” of its battle against the virus.
“It’s the start of autumn, it is a bit colder outside and the coronavirus continues to complicate our lives,” he said on Twitter.
China is in relaxing mode
In the meantime, on the eastern hemisphere of the world, in China, the Golden Week holiday marking the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic took on added consequences this year.
“People are travelling with a vengeance!” said Huo Binxing, a banker from Beijing who was heading to Lhasa in Tibet. “It’s our first chance to unwind after such a stressful period.”
Source: Bangkok Post
Photo: Carlos Barria/REUTERS