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Europe reels as it sets virus records, slaps on new rules

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Europe reels as it sets virus records, slaps on new rules

BERLIN (AP) — Fears rose Thursday that Europe is running out of chances to control its fall coronavirus outbreak, as infections hit record daily highs in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland. France slapped a 9 p.m. curfew on many of its biggest cities and Londoners faced new travel restrictions as governments imposed increasingly tough measures.

New infections have surged across Europe over recent weeks as the fall kicks in, prompting authorities to start re-imposing restrictions relaxed over the summer. The Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, France and Britain are among the countries causing particular concern.

The head of the World Health Organization’s Europe office urged governments to be “uncompromising” in controlling the virus.

“These measures are meant to keep us all ahead of the curve and to flatten its course,” Dr. Hans Kluge said, while wearing a mask. “It is therefore up to us to accept them while they are still relatively easy to follow instead of following the path of severity.”

Kluge cited epidemiological models that suggested if 95% of people wear masks and follow other social distancing measures, Europe could avoid about 281,000 deaths by February. But he warned that relaxing measures could lead to a five-fold increase in deaths by January.

European nations as a whole have seen nearly 230,000 confirmed deaths from the virus — more than the nearly 217,000 reported virus deaths so far in the United States, according to figures tallied by Johns Hopkins University that experts agree understate the true impact of the pandemic.

Europe’s financial markets fell sharply Thursday on concerns that the new restrictions on swathes of the region’s economy are already ending […]

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