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Italy tops 1,000 daily #Coronavirus cases for first time since May

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Italy’s health ministry on Saturday reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours, exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since May when the government eased rigid lockdown measures, writes Gavin Jones. 

Italy, one of Europe’s worst-hit countries with more than 35,000 deaths, has managed to contain the outbreak after a peak in deaths and cases between March and April. However, it has seen a steady increase in infections over the last month, with experts blaming holidays and night life for causing people to gather in numbers. The country last recorded a higher figure on 12 May, when 1,402 cases were reported, six days before restaurants, bars and shops were allowed to reopen after a 10-week lockdown.

Despite the rise in infections, daily death tallies remain low and are often in single figures. Saturday saw just three fatalities, compared to nine on Friday and six on Thursday, health ministry data showed. The number of new infections remains considerably lower than those registered in Spain and France.

On Saturday (22 August), Lazio, around Rome, was the Italian region to see the largest number of new cases, with 215. Of these, around 60% were people returning from holidays in other parts of Italy and abroad, the region’s health chief said. The northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, where Italy’s epidemic first came to light on 21 February, saw 185 and 160 new cases respectively.

Italy has taken countermeasures to try to stem the recent uptrend, shutting down clubs and discos and making it compulsory to wear a mask at night in outdoor public spaces. Travellers from several non-EU countries have been banned from entering Italy, with restrictions and testing obligations imposed on people returning from hard-hit European countries.

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Scotland extends hospitality restrictions until 2 November - PA Media

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Coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, which include the closure of pubs and restaurants in the central belt area and a curfew on indoor hospitality elsewhere, are to be extended until 2 November, PA Media reported on Wednesday (21 October), citing Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, write Sarah Young and Andy Bruce.

 

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Coronavirus risks running out of control in Germany, warns Soeder

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The leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), Markus Soeder (pictured), warned on Wednesday (21 October) that the coronavirus is at risk of spiraling out of control in Germany, writes Paul Carrel.

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and hit a daily record of 7,830 on Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

“Corona is back with full force ... the second wave is here,” Soeder told the Bavarian state assembly, adding caution and prudence were required.

On Tuesday, residents in the Bavarian district of Berchtesgadener Land went back into lockdown, the first area in Germany to do so since April.

Soeder said he nonetheless wanted to keep open borders with neighbouring countries. Bavaria borders Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. He was also determined to keep the economy functioning and schools and nurseries open as long as possible.

“Our priority is to avoid a blanket lockdown,” he told the Bavarian state assembly, adding that he would introduce a “dark red” alert level with tougher restrictions for areas in Bavaria that have 100 new cases per 100,000 people over seven days.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was staying in quarantine at home until Oct. 29 after a bodyguard tested positive for the virus.

Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial, has now twice tested negative for the virus, the spokeswoman added.

“There is light on the horizon,” said Soeder. “Of course, the vaccine will come, of course the situation will be very different in spring next year ... There is a tomorrow after corona.”

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Commission approves €2.3 million Czech scheme to support health SPA facilities affected by coronavirus outbreak in the Karlovy Vary Region of Czechia

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The European Commission has approved a CZK 62 million (approximately €2.3m) Czech scheme to support providers of SPA medical procedures and curative rehabilitation treatments in the Karlovy Vary Region (Czechia) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme aims at mitigating the liquidity shortages that health SPAs in the region are currently facing due to the drop in the number of patients caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

This scheme complements a scheme to support health SPA facilities in the whole of Czechia that the Commission approved in August 2020  (SA.58018). The Commission found that the Czech scheme for the health SPA facilities in the Karlovy Vary Region is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) will be granted no later than 30 June 2021.

The Commission concluded that the scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions of the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58198 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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