Coronavirus: New daily records of cases for Britain and France
World wrap: Deaths in India pass 100,000, Madrid is first European capital back into lockdown
Restaurant owners and workers bash pots at a demonstration against restaurant and bar closures in Marseille, southern France, on Friday. Photograph: Daniel Cole/AP Photo
France and Britain have reported new daily records for coronavirus infections, now both well into five figures.
France reported nearly 17,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Saturday, about 5,000 more than on the previous day, setting a new daily record.
The number of infections rose by 16,972 to a total of 606,625 cases, the health ministry said – more than the previous record of 16,096 registered last week.
The number of deaths increased by 49 to 32,198.
There were 4,087 new cases of people being hospitalised over the last seven days, including 849 in intensive care units. The figures are relatively stable compared with the previous report on Friday.
The rate of positive coronavirus tests in France rose to 7.9 per cent from 7.7 per cent on Friday.
Meanwhile, Britain reported 12,872 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, a record daily figure for the country, with the government blaming the jump on a reporting delay and saying the numbers in coming days would include additional cases.
The government’s website said a technical issue had delayed the publishing of a number of new Covid-19 cases.
“This means the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from the period between 24 September and 1 October, increasing the number of cases reported,” it said.
At 12,872, the number of daily cases reported almost doubled from the 6,968 reported on Friday, smashing the previous biggest daily toll of 7,143, recorded on Tuesday.
Britain is now processing more than 200,000 Covid-19 tests a day compared with fewer than 100,000 at the start of the pandemic.
But the technical issue could be seized on by critics, who say the government has lost control of the virus amid a shortage of testing capacity.
The number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test fell to 49 on Saturday from 66 the previous day.
India has passed a grim milestone in its fight against coronavirus, with health authorities saying the country has recorded more than 100,000 virus-related deaths.
India has seen more than 6.4 million confirmed infections, recording more than 79,000 new cases in the past 24 hours.
More than 34.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,027,823 have died, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.
The prime minister Narendra Modi and his government are facing criticism for failing to stop the march of the virus, which in September hit India harder than any other nation in the world.
Almost 41 per cent of India’s total infections and 34 per cent of Covid-19 deaths were reported in September, with an average of nearly 1,100 Indians dying each day.
As in many countries, Mr Modi and his government have struggled with how to balance virus restrictions with the the need to boost a contracting economy in which millions are newly jobless.
Experts say 100,000 is likely to be an undercount. They say many deaths may have been attributed to other causes, especially in the early days of the pandemic when testing was low in a country with a population of 1.4 billion.
“India’s fatalities numbers don’t reflect the true extent of the damage the virus has done,” said Dr T Jacob John, a retired virologist.
India’s first Covid-19 death was reported on March 12th. Over the next five months, the disease killed 50,000 people. It took just 45 more days for that number to double, underscoring the severity of a pandemic that has swamped intensive care units and morgues and also contributed to the deaths of medical professionals.
The Indian Medical Association on Friday said at least 500 doctors have died of coronavirus, adding the toll could be far higher.
The association last month accused the government of “indifference” after it said there was no complete data on the number of frontline health care workers who had contracted the virus and died.
Some 4.8 million Madrid residents were barred from leaving the area from Friday evening, making it the first European capital back into lockdown due to surging coronavirus cases.
Restaurants and bars in the Spanish capital and nine satellite towns will shut early and slash capacity by half in what has again become Europe’s worst infection hotspot. The new restrictions, started at 10pm, are not as strict as the previous lockdown from March, when people were barred from leaving their homes.
However, authorities advised residents not to move around unless absolutely necessary.
“Madrilenos” were exasperated at political wrangling between the central and regional governments, and anxious about whether the measures would work.
“We have been eight months with masks and without nightclubs and parties, and there is still contagion. Then what kind of impact will these restrictions make?,” said Sonny van den Holstein, owner of Sanissimo restaurant.
“People are confused, they hesitate to go out ... they are in fear,” he said, as a customer called to cancel a reservation.
The conservative-led Madrid area authority reluctantly complied with the order from the Socialist-led central government to ban travel except for school, work, health or shopping.
Famous for its late-night carousing and usually lively tourist flow, Madrid’s bars and restaurants must close at 11 pm. instead of a previous 1 am curfew, while restaurants, gyms and shops are having capacity cut by half.
Gatherings of more than six people remain banned. The new lockdown will last at least 14 days and could be extended if needed. – AP/Reuters