Spain declared a national state of emergency on Sunday to tackle a second coronavirus wave as the World Health Organization reported a third straight day of record new infections across the world.
The WHO has warned that some countries are on a “dangerous track”, with too many witnessing an exponential increase in cases, and called on governments to take further action to curb the spread of the disease.
The UN agency’s figures showed 465,319 cases were declared on Saturday alone, half of them in Europe.
The WHO has said that the northern hemisphere was at an especially critical juncture with winter looming.
After Spain became the first EU member state to pass one million cases, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the new state of emergency and overnight curfews across the entire country except for the Canary Islands.
Italy, the epicentre of the first European outbreak, also ramped up restrictions on daily life, ordering the closure of theatres, cinemas and gyms and shutting bars and restaurants early.
Anti-curb protests grow
Dozens of far-right protesters in Rome clashed with riot police overnight during a demonstration against a curfew, setting off fireworks, burning bins and throwing projectiles.
In Britain, Scotland Yard officers facing anti-lockdown demonstrations in central London made 18 arrests, with three officers receiving injuries following clashes with the protesters.
Large groups of protesters were seen marching through the city on Saturday with banners and placards calling for “freedom” and an end to Covid-19 restrictions, which has currently placed the UK capital under Tier 2 – under which any gatherings over the “rule of six” are prohibited.The Metropolitan Police said that it made arrests for a variety of offences, including breaching coronavirus regulations, assaulting an emergency service worker, violent disorder and for being wanted.
In Germany, several people attacked the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s national disease control centre, with incendiary devices in the national capital early on Sunday.
Criminal police has taken over the investigation on suspicion that the attack may have been politically motivated.
In Poland, Warsaw police detained 278 people on Saturday after thousands protested against new curbs.
‘Vaccine verdict by Dec’
US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday it would be clear whether a vaccine was safe and effective by early December, but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.
“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December,” he told the BBC.
“Vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year.”
Cases soaring in Americas
New York and New Jersey reported the most new Covid-19 cases since May, while daily infections across the US reached a record of more than 83,000.
New Jersey extended a public health emergency for another month. Illinois had the most new cases since the pandemic began.
Data from Johns Hopkins University showed that 83,718 new cases in the US were reported on Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 infections reported on Friday. Before that, the most single-day cases in the US had been 77,362, on July 16.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington currently forecasts that the country’s Covid-19 death toll could exceed 318,000 by January 1.
In South America, Colombia became the eight country to reach 1 million confirmed Covid cases on Saturday.