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Europe coronavirus lockdown: World Health Organisation warns cases now exceed March peak

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Officials from the World Health Organisation issued the warning as a second wave of infections intensified across the continent. The dramatic rise in new coronavirus cases in Europe has been desribed as a “wake up call” by the WHO bosses.

WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said: “We have a very serious situation unfolding before us.

“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March.”

He said the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients las week.

Dr Kluge said: “More than half of European countries have reported a greater-than-10 percent increase in cases in the past two weeks.

“Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than two-fold in the same period.”

The warning from the WHO came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a “concerning rise in cases” in England.

Mr Hancock confirmed local lockdown restrictions will be introduced in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham following “concerning rates of infection”.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the number of newly reported cases for the EU, European Economic Area and the UK “has been increasing for more than 50 days, with over half of all EU countries currently experiencing an increase in cases”.

Spain, which has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe at 614,360, is set to announce more local lockdowns and travel restrictions.

France reported 9,784 new cases yesterday, one of the highest daily figures ever reported in the country and just below the all-time record of 10,561 new cases recorded last Saturday.

Italy, which was the epicenter of Europe’s first coronavirus outbreak in February, registered 1,452 new cases in the last 24 hours, up from 1,229 new cases on Tuesday.

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