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European countries set record COVID-19 daily numbers as Spain's total cases top 1 mln

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-22 09:33
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Madrid Emergency Service (SUMMA) UVI-8 unit's nurse Elena Tena holds a swab sample taken from a patient amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, October 19, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to put 12 municipalities under a two-week lockdown as of Oct. 26 due to COVID-19 spikes. Lithuania reported 311 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the biggest daily spike since the country confirmed its first case on Feb. 28

The Czech government on Wednesday decided to close most shops and services in the country and strictly restrict the movement of residents as of Thursday to curb one of the world's fastest growing COVID-19 infection rates. On Tuesday, the country reported 11,984 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since the pandemic outbreak.

As part of the new measures, which will remain in force until Nov. 3, gatherings of more than two people who are not in the same household or work together will be banned. The measures -- which resemble those in force during the first lockdown this spring -- allow people to visit shops to buy essential items, make necessary family visits and travel to parks and the countryside.

To curb the spread of coronavirus and prevent a second lockdown, the Austrian government introduced tightened measures including a limit on indoor gatherings to six people and allowing states to impose regional restrictions such as curfews. These measures will come into effect from Friday and apply for at least four weeks.

In Belgium, where an average of 8,975 new cases per day were reported from Oct. 11 to Oct. 17, a new testing strategy came into effect on Wednesday. People with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested more to allow the testing to be more precise in order to break the chains of coronavirus transmission. The strategy applies to people returning from the red zones abroad. Those at low risk or who are asymptomatic will be tested less, according to spokesman Yves Van Laethem.

To ease the burden on its health system, the Polish government is building a temporary hospital containing 500 beds, with a possible expansion to 1,000, in the National Stadium. Poland is also making efforts to contain the pandemic. One candidate medicine, developed from blood plasma of recovered patients, is now undergoing testing in the eastern Polish town of Lublin.

As the world is caught in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries including France, Italy, China, Russia, Britain and the United States are racing to find a vaccine. According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 19, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 44 of them were in clinical trials.

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