Europe is losing the fight against Covid second wave as France deaths double and health systems face collapse, WHO warns

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EUROPE is losing its fight with Covid-19 as France records its highest daily death toll since April, a top WHO medic has said.

Dr Michael Ryan, the exec director of the World Health Organisation's emergencies programme, said stricter measures were needed to contain the European pandemic.

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Speaking to reporters he suggested that EU borders may need to be slammed shut to contain the outbreak.

He said: "There's no question that the European region is an epicenter of disease right now.

"Right now we are well behind this virus in Europe so getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in what we do and maybe much more comprehensive nature of measures that are going to be needed."

This comes as Covid-19 deaths in Europe neared 210,000 and more than 209,000 dead at the start of this week.

Meanwhile, France reported 523 more coronavirus deaths yesterday and new infections surged across the country.

President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation tonight to announce more lockdown restrictions.

The death toll in the country is currently 35,541 while more than one million infected since the start of the pandemic.

Dr Ryan said that EU members may need to close their borders to "take the heat" out of the pandemic.

President Macron is set to impose a new nationwide lockdown in France amid rising cases and deaths in the country

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President Macron is set to impose a new nationwide lockdown in France amid rising cases and deaths in the countryCredit: Getty Images - Getty

An ambulance worker wearing a full personal protective equipment (PPE) is disinfected in Madrid, Spain

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An ambulance worker wearing a full personal protective equipment (PPE) is disinfected in Madrid, SpainCredit: Reuters

He said: "There's a lot of free movement, on those principles it may require shutting down and restricting movement and having stay-at-home orders in order to take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic."

In Spain, a state of emergency and a night-time curfew have been imposed in a bid to control the second wave of the virus.

Under the new restrictions, local officials can ban travel between regions.

The country recorded 18,418 new daily infections yesterday with 200,000 new cases over the past two weeks - a rise of 33 per cent.

And yesterday, Spanish doctors began their first nation-wide strike for the first time in 25 years.

The medics are demanding better working conditions and a new law that lowers hiring standards.

However, it has been reported that the strike has caused minimal disruption to hospitals.

An intensive care unit in Rome during the second wave of the Covid-19

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An intensive care unit in Rome during the second wave of the Covid-19Credit: EPA

People wearing masks in Rome amid rising infections in the country

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People wearing masks in Rome amid rising infections in the countryCredit: EPA

Currently, the death toll in Spain is 35,298 fatal with more the one million infections.

In the Belgian city of Liege, doctors with coronavirus have been told to keep working in a desperate bid to control the surge in cases.

A quarter of the country's medical staff are reportedly off sick with the respiratory disease.

The Belgian Association of Medical Unions confirmed that 10 hospitals have told workers who have Covid but do not have symptoms should continue to treat patients.

Meanwhile, in Italy, a night-time curfew has sparked riots and looting by anti-lockdown activists.

Violence erupted in Turin as protesters smashed windows, set off smoke bombs and hurled bottles at cops.

Police in the financial capital of Milan arrested 28 people after protests turned violent on Monday night when police blocked their procession to government offices.

The current death toll in Italy is 37,700 with daily new cases surpassing 20,000 in recent days.

Dr Ryan said that if tougher restrictions were imposed, countries would be able to stay ahead of transmission rates.

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He urged people to the right thing and follow lockdown rules amid protests across the world against the restrictions.

The medic said: "How can you convince someone to do something if they don't actually believe there is a problem?

"Governments need to persuade people to do the right thing but they need to support people in doing that."

A firefighter walks past a burning bin during protests in Barcelona

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A firefighter walks past a burning bin during protests in BarcelonaCredit: AFP OR LICENSORS

Police officers stand guard outside a smashed Gucci store in Turin

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Police officers stand guard outside a smashed Gucci store in TurinCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Protesters clash with police in Milan during violent protests

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Protesters clash with police in Milan during violent protestsCredit: EPA
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