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Coronavirus: Hungary and Poland see record cases

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Polish government has been criticised for not doing enough tests

Hungary and Poland are the latest countries to see record daily coronavirus cases, as Europe grapples with a second wave.

Poland saw new cases jump by 21,897 on Saturday, and Hungary saw a record daily increase of 3,908.

Meanwhile Austria's chancellor announced new lockdown measures including a curfew from 20:00 to 06:00.

Slovakia is testing everyone over the age of 10 to try to stop the spread of the disease there.

The project to test four million people in the country, where infections have soared, is expected to last over two weekends.

  • Slovakia holds national test but president calls for rethink

What's the situation in central Europe?

Much of Europe is battling with soaring infection rates, with several countries reinstating lockdowns or partial lockdowns to try to stem the wave.

Poland saw cases go up for a fifth day in a row, with Covid-19 patients occupying 16,144 hospital beds - 1,305 of them on ventilators - according to the Polish health ministry. There were 280 new deaths.

The rise comes as protesters against last week's near-total ban on abortion continue to defy government calls to stay at home due to rising infections.

The country already has the highest level of restrictions to date, with public gatherings banned, most schools closed and restaurants and cafes only offering take-away service.

As of Saturday, Poland had 340,834 total cases, with 5,351 deaths according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Deaths from Covid-19 in Hungary rose by 51, bringing the total to 1,750, the government said on Saturday.

It also said the number of Covid patients in hospital had exceeded 4,000 for the first time.

image copyrightReuters
image captionHungary's prime minister has so far held back from imposing strict measures across the country

Hungary has yet to impose restrictions on mass events, with schools and shops remaining open and football matches operating throughout the pandemic.

However, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a radio interview on Friday that authorities would hand out fines to anyone failing to wear a mask where required.

As of Saturday, Hungary had 71,413 total cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced new restrictions including a curfew from 20:00 to 06:00 and the closure of cafes and restaurants except for takeaway service.

He said that shops would remain open.

The restrictions, which will come into force on Tuesday, comes as infections approach a level which officials say will stretch the country's hospitals beyond capacity.

Austria saw 5,349 cases on Saturday, slightly down from Friday's record high of 5,627.

What's happening elsewhere in Europe?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a four-week lockdown for England starting on Thursday, with non-essential shops and hospitality closing but schools, colleges and universities remaining open

Portugal is to begin a new partial lockdown on Wednesday, with about 70% of the population - including the Lisbon and Porto regions - affected by stay-at-home rules

Greece announces a partial lockdown, with restaurants and other leisure activities closed in major Greek cities from Tuesday. "We must act now, before intensive care units buckle under the strain of lives in danger," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday. Greece has not seen as many cases as other parts of Europe, but there has been a steady increase since early October

Belgium has announced a return to a national lockdown from Monday, as latest coronavirus figures show it has the highest infection rate in Europe. It means non-essential shops and businesses offering personal services like hair salons will be closed until mid-December. The country has more than half of its 2,000 intensive care unit beds already occupied by Covid-19 patients

France last week entered into a new national lockdown that will last a month, with schools and workplaces remaining open but people requiring permits to leave home.

Related Topics

  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Coronavirus lockdown measures
  • Poland

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