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Europe prepares for more pain ahead as COVID surges

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Europe prepares for more pain ahead as COVID surges

By James Mackenzie



Schoolgirl of Freiherr-vom-Stein secondary school in the North Rhine-Westphalian city wears a winter outfit against the cold as school resumes with open windows and protective masks against the spread of COVID-19 following the autumn holidays in Bonn, Germany, October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay


MILAN (Reuters) - European leaders warned of difficult months ahead as the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic forced authorities to impose new restrictions to try to curb the spread of the disease.


Word that a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc produced immune responses in both elderly and young people offered some positive news.


However, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock cautioned that the vaccine would not be widely available until next year and said "we're not there yet".


Elsewhere the picture was unrelentingly grim as a string of countries reported record increases, led by France, which posted more than 50,000 daily cases for the first time on Sunday, while the continent passed the threshold of 250,000 deaths.


Governments have been desperate to avoid the lockdowns which curbed the disease at the start of the year at the cost of shutting down their entire economies. But the steady rise in new cases has forced them to ratchet up controls steadily.


"We are facing very, very difficult months ahead," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a meeting of leaders from her Christian Democrat party, according to daily Bild.


Although Germany has fared relatively well compared to other countries in Europe, it too has seen a sharp rise in cases and the closely watched Ifo business climate index fell on Monday, reflecting the worries over the virus.


The gloom around the resurgent virus weighed on financial markets, where oil prices dropped on concerns of another slide in demand and stock markets also fell.


In Spain, which has had more than 1 million cases of the disease, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned the country was facing an "extreme" situation as he announced a new state of emergency on Sunday, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases.


Italy, the country worst hit in the early stages of the crisis in March, also imposed new curbs, ordering restaurants and bars to close from 6 p.m. and shutting down cinemas, and gyms and imposing local curfews in several regions.


Street clashes with small groups of protestors over the weekend and angry criticism from restaurant owners and business groups about the impact of the measures underlined the increasingly tense climate facing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-10-26
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The stock price of SAP (the number 1 IT company in Germany) dropped yesterday by almost 22 percent because of Corona and their outlook for the near future. They are used to rising stock prices. And this was a shock. 


If the economy gets into bigger troubles then this will be very worrisome. In respect of the Corona cases - there are still enough covidiots protesting against measures for protection. I am really happy that I live in Thailand. The mentality of the people here seems to be more clever... 

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