MADRID: Spain declared a national state of emergency to tackle a second coronavirus wave as the World Health Organisation reported a third straight day of record new infections across the world.
The WHO has warned that some countries are on a “dangerous track”, with too many witnessing an exponential increase in cases, and called on countries to take further action to curb the spread of the disease.
In total, the UN agency’s figures showed that 465,319 cases were declared on Saturday alone, half of them in Europe.
Covid-19 has now claimed the lives of 1.1 million people – a fifth of them in the United States — and infected more than 42 million globally.
The WHO has said that the northern hemisphere was at an especially critical juncture with winter looming.
As the disease continued its relentless march across Europe, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the new state of emergency and overnight curfews across the entire country except for the Canary Islands.
The move came after Spain became the first EU member state to pass the grim milestone of one million cases. “The situation we are going through is extreme,” Sanchez said.
Italy – the epicentre of the first European outbreak – also ramped up restrictions on daily life, ordering the closure of theatres, cinemas and gyms and shutting bars and restaurants early.