Home International Western Europe Relaxes Virus Measures, Russia Numbers Spike

Western Europe Relaxes Virus Measures, Russia Numbers Spike


BARCELONA, Spain—Spaniards filled the streets May 2 to exercise outside in gorgeous spring weather for the first time in seven weeks, while German children rushed to playgrounds as countries in Western Europe moved ahead with the gradual relaxation of CCP virus lockdown restrictions.

People exercise Barcelona Spain
People exercise Barcelona Spain
People exercise on a seafront promenade in this photo taken with a telephoto lens in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo)

Russia and Pakistan, however, reported their biggest one-day spikes in new infections, in a sign the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, is far from over.

Concern was growing in Moscow that hospitals might become overwhelmed after Russia recorded a new one-day high of 9,633 new infections, a 20 percent increase over Fridays count, which itself was a new daily record.

Russia has now reported 124,054 total cases, with 15,013 recoveries and 1,222 fatalities. True numbers are believed to be higher because not everyone is tested and Russian tests are reported to be only 70 percent to 80 percent accurate.

testing point CCP virus Moscow
testing point CCP virus Moscow
A medical employee exits from a tent at a testing point for COVID-19 in central Moscow on May 2, 2020. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Moscows mayor said this week that officials are considering establishing temporary hospitals at sports complexes and shopping malls to deal with the influx of patients. Infection cases have reached the highest levels of government, with both the prime minister and the construction minister contracting the virus.

In Russias far northeast, officials said 3,000 of 10,000 workers at a vast natural gas field had tested positive, Russian news agencies reported. Employees of one of the contractors at the field reportedly held a protest this week claiming insufficient measures were being taken against the virus spread.

At the same time, Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the world with 25,100 deaths and more than 216,500 cases of COVID-19, was rolling back some emergency measures that helped bring the outbreak under control and save hospitals from collapse. A huge field hospital at a Madrid convention center was closed Friday, and the capital has already closed a makeshift morgue at an ice rink in a shopping mall.

temporary hospital Madrid
temporary hospital Madrid
File photo of the temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients located at the Ifema convention and exhibition center in Madrid on April 03, 2020. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)

Since Spains lockdown started March 14, only adults have been able to leave home, for shopping for food, medicine, and other essential goods, and to walk dogs close to home. The lockdown is credited with succeeding in reducing daily increases of infections from more than 20 percent to less than 1 percent.

As restrictions were relaxed Saturday, people ran, walked, or rode bicycles under a brilliant sunny sky in Barcelona, where many flocked to the maritime promenade to get as close as possible to the still-off-limits beach.

People exercise Barcelona Spain
People exercise Barcelona Spain
People exercise at a seafront promenade in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo)

“I feel good, but tired. You sure notice that it has been a month and I am not in shape,” 36-year-old Cristina Palomeque said in Barcelona. “Some people think it may be too early, as I do, but it is also important to do exercise for health reasons.”

The government has set up time slots for age groups and activities, and social distancing measures requiring people to stay 6 feet apart. On Monday, face masks will be required for people riding public transit but many of those out and about on Saturday werent wearing them. Until now, the government had only highly recommended the masks in trains, metros, and buses in addition to social distancing rules.

Spain has detailed a complex rollback plan that will vary by province. Those with the fewest cases and with health care resources in place to handle a rebound of the virus will be the first to enjoy further loosening of the measures.

“We must take it with caution and responsibility,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter. “The virus is still with us. We need to respect the rules as well as the guidelines for hygiene and social distancing.”

Virus Outbreak Spain
Virus Outbreak Spain
People wearing face masks walk along Vuelta del Castillo park, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (Alvaro Barrientos /AP Photo)

The virus has killed more than 238,000 people worldwide, including more than 65,000 in the United States and more than 20,000 each in Italy, Britain, and France, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Health experts warn a second wave of infections could hit unless testing is expanded dramatically.

President Donald Trump said Friday he hopes the total number of U.S. deaths will be below 100,000, which he acknowledged is a “horrible number.”

As the crisis stabilizes in some European countries and American states, governments are easing the shutdown of businesses that plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Hundreds of people gather around the California State Capitol to protest against the statewide lockdown in Sacramento on April 20, 2020. (Laurie Gorham/The Epoch Times)

Trump, who is running for reelection in the midst of a U.S. economic slump that has wiped out more than 10 million jobs, is pressing state governors to lift controls despite warnings by some health experts that might lead to a spike in infeRead More – Source