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China Tests Entire City For Virus As Europe Tightens Controls

China rushed Tuesday to test an entire city of nine million people within days after a minor coronavirus outbreak in the sprawling country, a far cry from the struggle in Europe to tackle surging infections with tough new steps including partial lockdowns.

The virus is still spreading rapidly worldwide, with over one million deaths and 37 million infections, and many nations that suppressed their first outbreaks now face a second wave.

Without a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread unchecked.

More than four million samples had been collected as of Tuesday in the Chinese city of Qingdao More than four million samples had been collected as of Tuesday in the Chinese city of Qingdao Photo: AFP / STR

China — where Covid-19 first emerged late last year — launched a drive to test all residents of Qingdao after a handful of cases were detected on Sunday.

More than four million samples had been collected and 1.9 million results returned as of Tuesday afternoon, Qingdao authorities said, adding that no new cases had been found beyond already confirmed infections.

Chinese officials intend to test the entire city — around 9.4 million people — by Thursday.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered pubs to close early to help stem the virus spread Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered pubs to close early to help stem the virus spread Photo: AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS

In scenes contrasting with the fumbled testing efforts elsewhere, health workers in protective clothing swiftly set up tents and residents queued deep into Monday night to provide samples.

In Europe, governments are battling to curb surges with new controls and increased testing, while trying to avoid the devastating nationwide lockdowns of March and April.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the Netherlands will go into “partial lockdown” from 2000 GMT on Wednesday, with all bars, caf?s and restaurants to close for two weeks at least.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce tighter restrictions and faster testing in a prime-time TV interview Wednesday night, with some media speculating Paris and other cities could face evening curfews.

Map with number of Covid-19 deaths by country as of October 13 at 1100 GMT Map with number of Covid-19 deaths by country as of October 13 at 1100 GMT Photo: AFP / Simon MALFATTO

Hospitals in Paris will have most of their intensive care beds packed with Covid-19 patients as soon as next week, the system’s chief warned Tuesday.

“It’s inevitable,” Martin Hirsch, the head of the 39 hospitals in Paris and its suburbs, told the Parisien newspaper, estimating beds would reach 70-90% capacity by October 24.

Russia on Tuesday reported its highest-ever number of daily virus deaths, at 244, and a record number of new cases at almost 14,000.

With the pandemic already claiming more than one million lives worldwide, scientists in different nations are rushing to develop vaccines and effective treatments With the pandemic already claiming more than one million lives worldwide, scientists in different nations are rushing to develop vaccines and effective treatments Photo: AFP / Yasin AKGUL

Italy imposed new, tougher rules to control a resurgence, including an end to parties, amateur football matches and snacking at bars at night.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday became the latest high-profile figure to go into quarantine after coming into contact with a person with Covid-19.

And Portugal’s football federation said star striker Cristiano

Pubs shut in Liverpool as UK tightens virus control measures

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered pubs in Liverpool to shut as part of a new strategy to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases, as staff at three field hospitals across the country were told to prepare for a wave of admissions.

The northwest English city is the first to be placed at “very high risk” under a new three-tiered system designed to bring order what has become a complex web of local restrictions.

Johnson, heavily criticised for his government’s response to the outbreak, said he did not want to impose a new nationwide lockdown.

But said he could not allow Covid-19 to “let rip” and risk the death toll — the highest in Europe at almost 43,000 — spiralling even higher.

“This is not how we want to live our lives,” the Conservative leader, who himself was hospitalised with coronavirus in April, told the House of Commons.

“But this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and the massive human and economic cost of an uncontained epidemic.”

Inter-household mixing will be banned indoors and in private gardens while pubs, bars, gyms, betting shops and casinos will close from Wednesday in Liverpool, which has a population of about 1.5 million.

Johnson said businesses forced to close would be supported under a new government programme to fund two-thirds of an employee’s monthly wages, as well as extra support for local contact tracing and enforcement.

Other areas of England will be classed either as “medium”, in which current nationwide rules limiting social gatherings to six will apply, or “high”, where different households are banned from mixing indoors.

Whole swathes of northern England already facing local restrictions will automatically enter the “high” risk tier.

Earlier, the state-run National Health Service (NHS) announced that three field hospitals across northern England, in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate, would be mobilised to accept new patients.

They are among a string of temporary hospitals, named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, put up by the military in conference centres and stadia coronavirus as swept across the UK earlier this year.

Testing for hospital staff is also being stepped up in high-risk areas, as health officials warned infection rates were rising across the country and in all age ranges, not just the young.

Almost 14,000 new coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Monday, with 50 further deaths. 

“The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks. There are now more people in hospital with Covid than when we went into lockdown on March 23,” Johnson said.

– ‘Wholly disproportionate’ –

A UK-wide stay-at-home order was lifted in June but England, whose health policy is controlled by the UK government, and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all since imposed new measures to stop the spread of the virus.

They include blanket restrictions on social gatherings, in addition to more localised measures. 

Pubs in England must shut at