Covid-19 wrap | Madrid hospital 'swamped' with cases, Ireland first EU country to re-enter lockdown

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  • Mexico City's mayor has warned tighter coronavirus curbs could come into effect later in the week as Covid-19 hospitalizations rise.
  • Residents of the Berchtesgadener Land district of Bavaria will not be able to leave their homes without a valid reason for two weeks from Tuesday.
  • Ireland will be the first EU country to return to coronavirus lockdown, but schools will stay open.


Madrid hospital struggles with surge in virus cases

At Severo Ochoa hospital in a Madrid suburb badly-hit during the pandemic's first wave, the intensive care unit is once again full and exhausted medics dread a repeat of the same "horror".

"We're swamped," admits Ricardo Diaz Abad, head of intensive care at this hospital in Leganes, south-west of Madrid, standing in front of the unit's 12 beds, all filled with gravely ill Covid-19 patients.

"Unfortunately we lost two patients" overnight, he tells AFP as nurses tend to the patients, who range in age from 54 to nearly 80, through a glass window.

Unlike the first wave when the hospital did not have enough beds for Covid patients, "we can now treat them because we have created space", said Diaz Abad.

AFP

Mexico City warns of tighter Covid-19 restrictions

Mexico City's mayor on Monday warned tighter coronavirus curbs could come into effect later in the week as Covid-19 hospitalizations in the sprawling capital rose.

"We still have time to take preventative measures to keep (hospitalizations) from increasing in the coming weeks," Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told reporters, noting that hospital beds for coronavirus patients are just under half-full.

Hospitalizations have ticked up for nearly 10 days, and officials are monitoring the trend this week to determine if it indicates an upswing of infections in Mexico's biggest urban hub - a metropolis of some 9 million people ringed by dense suburban sprawl.

Sheinbaum said she did not want to ban any activity outright, but would consider limitations such as reducing operating hours of some businesses to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and to avoid more deaths.

Reuters

Part of Bavaria goes into first German lockdown since April

Residents of the Berchtesgadener Land district of Bavaria will not be able to leave their homes without a valid reason for two weeks from Tuesday, officials said on Monday, making it the first area in Germany to go back into lockdown since April.

The decision, which takes effect from 14:00 on Tuesday, follows a spike in coronavirus cases in the district to 272.8 per 100 000 inhabitants over seven days.

"The restrictions on going out we have decided today will apply initially for 14 days," Bavarian Agriculture Minister Michaela Kaniber told a news conference.

Under the measures, schools, restaurants, bars, theatres, gyms, cinemas and hotels will be closed. Church services will be allowed. Berchtesgadener Land has a population of some 106 000.

Reuters

Ireland is first EU country to re-enter lockdown but keeps schools open

Ireland will be the first EU country to return to coronavirus lockdown, prime minister Micheal Martin said Monday, issuing a nationwide "stay at home" order but insisting schools will stay open.

Measures coming into effect for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday (2300 GMT) will see all non-essential retail businesses close and bars and restaurants limited to takeaway service only.

"Everyone in the country is being asked to stay at home," Martin said in a televised national address.

Only essential workers will be "permitted to travel to work", he said, and citizens will be allowed out to exercise only within five kilometres (three miles) of their residence.

AFP

Ukraine may face new jump in coronavirus cases - minister

Ukrainian health minister Maksym Stepanov said on Tuesday the number of coronavirus cases may rise to 8 000-10 000 a day in the coming weeks.

Ukraine reported a record 6 410 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday versus the previous record of 5 992 registered on Friday.

The daily tally spiked above 5 000 in October, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of 2020.

Stepanov said Ukraine would introduce stricter lockdown restrictions if cases rise to 11 000-15 000 daily. He warned that the resources of the medical system would run out if the number of daily cases exceeds 20 000.

Reuters

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