Czechia minister resigns, UK at 'critical moment': COVID-19 daily bulletin
Aden-Jay Wood


- The UK is at a "critical moment" of the pandemic according to its transport secretary Grant Shapps who urged the country's people to follow restrictions "otherwise we're going to end up back in situations we don't want to be in."

- Germany's daily infections rose by 922 in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 272,337. There was no deaths recorded in the past day, with the toll remaining at 9,386. 

- COVID-19 is a six-month problem that the UK has to deal with collectively before science can "ride to our rescue" according to the government's chief medical officer Chris Whitty. 

- Czechia Health Minister Adam Vojtech has submitted his resignation following criticism over his handling of the pandemic, as cases surge across the country. 

- Shortly before his resignation Vojtech announced that Czechia could declare another state of emergency if the surge in cases continues over the coming days. 

- Over 75 percent of people displaced or affected by conflict have lost their job or income from work since the beginning of the pandemic according to the Norwegian Refugee Council whilst 70 percent had been forced to cut back on meals and 73 percent were less likely to send their children to school because they could not afford to. 

- Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith has admitted that the company must "do much more" to reduce its costs amid the COVID-19 crisis facing the airline sector. 

- Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn said he is worried by the rising number of new infections in neighbouring countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands, adding that Germany will soon import cases from there.

- Norway's government has extended loan guarantees for all of its country's airlines, including Norwegian Air by two months until at least the end of 2020

- Football fans returned to stadiums across Italy on Sunday after the government gave the all clear for clubs to allow up to 1,000 socially distanced spectators in to cheer on their teams. 

- Five players have been withdrawn from the qualifying of the French Open tennis tournament after two players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19, tournament organizers said. 


Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith admits they must "do much more" to reduce its costs. /Reuters

Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith admits they must "do much more" to reduce its costs. /Reuters


Ross Cullen in Paris

There is a new school infection policy coming into force in France from tomorrow Tuesday as the education secretary tries to reduce the number of classes and schools that are having to close due to teachers or children testing positive for COVID-19. 

If a child is confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus, her or his class will be allowed to continue lessons without having to be closed. All pupils in that class will now only be sent home if three pupils from different households test positive. 

These new rules are based on recommendations from France's high council for public health, which says children are at a low risk of a serious form of the disease and also that they are not very active in transmission of coronavirus.


Lucy Hough in Brussels

Nearly 1,200 new coronavirus infections have been reported per day in Belgium between 11 and 17 September. The country has now passed the milestone of a total 100,000 cases, making it the seventh most affected country in Europe. 

Over the same period, there were 44 admissions to hospital, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 19,629. 

The death rate is relatively stable at an average 2.4 per day. The number of people who have succumbed to the virus in Belgium stands at 9,948.


People wait in line to be tested in Czechia's capital, Prague as cases surge across the country. /Reuters.

People wait in line to be tested in Czechia's capital, Prague as cases surge across the country. /Reuters.

Isobel Ewing in Budapest

From Monday, new rules come into place in Hungary to protect against the second wave of coronavirus, which has seen the country experience record high daily case increases in recent weeks.

The rules include mandatory masks not only on public transport and in shops, but also in cinemas, theaters, shopping malls, health and social care institutions, and customer reception offices.

Restaurants, clubs, bars and other entertainment venues must close at 11pm, and both children and parents must have their temperature taken before entering school grounds. 

There is also a ban on visits to hospitals and nursing homes.

The duration of home quarantine has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days.

Miklós Rusvai, a virus researcher at Szent Istvan University, has warned that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Hungary could double if strict health measures are not adhered to.

Epidemiological experts in Hungary believe the outbreak will peak in December-January.


Mia Alberti in Frankfurt

The German Health Minister says he is concerned with the rise of covid-19 infections across Europe because Germany could import these cases.

"What worries me is the dynamic. Not only in Germany, but also the dynamism in our direct European neighbors", Jens Spahn told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Monday.

"The number of new corona infections in France, Austria or the Netherlands always has a direct impact on Germany", he said.

Spahn exemplified that countries like Spain had "have infection dynamics that are likely out of control".

On Monday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 922 to 272,337, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), but no new deaths were registered.

As the spike in cases continues - to numbers similar to those in April - Spahn guaranteed hospitals and ICU are better prepared now and that the government is committed to increase testing and prioritize an eventual COVID-19 vaccination which will be voluntary.



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