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French doctor warns his country has 'lost control' of virus

A French doctor warned Monday that his country has “lost control of the epidemic,” a day after health authorities reported more than 52,000 new coronavirus cases as nations across Europe enact more sweeping restrictions to try to slow surging infection rates.

Spain — the first European country to surpass 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases — declared a state of emergency Sunday that included a nationwide overnight curfew, a cap of six people on social gatherings and possible travel bans in and out of the hardest-hit regions.

The effect was clear on Barcelona's famed Las Ramblas promenade, which was deserted Sunday night when it normally would have been teeming with people.

Two women stand in the deserted city of Berchtesgaden, Germany, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Authorities have posed the Berchtesgaden region under a lockdown since Oct. 20, 2020 due to a rising number of cases of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the district of Berchtesgadener Land. Local authorities in Bavaria's Rottal-Inn county, on the border with Austria, said Monday that the restrictions will begin at midnight. (AP PhotoMatthias Schrader)

In two major Italian cities, people took to the streets amid a pushback from small sections of society to new restrictions. On Friday, demonstrators in Naples protested a locally imposed 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and clashed with police. On Saturday night, far-right and neo-fascist groups led a similar protest in Rome against a curfew. Another protest is planned for Tuesday in Milan.

Dr. Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific council that advises the French government on the virus, said the country is in a “very difficult, even critical situation."

"There probably are more than 50,000 new cases every day. Our estimate at the Scientific Council is closer to 100,000 – twice as many,” Delfraissy told RTL radio. “Between those who aren’t tested and asymptomatic patients, we’re close to that number of cases. This means the virus is spreading extremely fast.”

A art sculpture wearing a face mask in the deserted city of Berchtesgaden, Germany, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Authorities have posed the Berchtesgaden region under a lockdown since Oct. 20, 2020 due to a rising number of cases of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the district of Berchtesgadener Land. Local authorities in Bavaria's Rottal-Inn county, on the border with Austria, said Monday that the restrictions will begin at midnight. (AP PhotoMatthias Schrader)

Dr. Eric Caumes, head of infections and tropical diseases department at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, said the country needs to lock down again.

“We lost control of the epidemic but that doesn’t date from yesterday,” he said on broadcaster Franceinfo. “We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago already.”

Europe’s confirmed death toll has surpassed 250,000 according to a count by Johns Hopkins University, which puts the global toll at more than 1.1 million.

A COVID-19 patient from the Netherlands arrives for treatment by helicopter to the University hospital in Muenster, Germany, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. The transfer is intended to reduce the coronavirus pressure on the intensive care units in the Netherlands. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner)

Italy, the first country in the West to get slammed by COVID-19, took new measures over the weekend to try to rein in the new outbreak, ordering restaurants and bars closed by 6 p.m., and shutting down gyms, pools and movie theaters.

The measures, which took effect Monday, also require high schools to transition to at least 75% distance learning while letting younger students remain in classrooms. Indoor and outdoor gatherings, including those for religious reasons, are barred, and the government is strongly recommending people avoid having house guests and traveling in the country except for work, health or other necessities.

Milan trattoria owner Giuseppe Di Terlizzi fears the worst as he is forced to close in the evenings after already losing lunchtime customers because so many people work from home.

Medical workers wearing protective gear transport a patient suspected of having coronavirus from an ambulance to a hospital in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Russia is facing a sharp rise in infections, but the Kremlin has ruled out a new lockdown. (AP Photo)

“We have high costs and almost zero revenue," he said Sunday. "So it will be a disaster, if they don’t help us it will be the death of the restaurant business in Milan.”

Italy has been registering around 20,000 new confirmed infections per day and health authorities have warned that some hospital COVID-19 wards risk hitting the saturation point in the next week or two.

British authorities are likely to tighten restrictions on more areas of the country this week, amid mixed signs about whether measures introduced in the last few weeks have stemmed a steep rise in infections.

A sports center worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks outside a closed swimming pool of the Forum sports center, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. For at least the next month, people outdoors except for small children must now wear masks in all of Italy, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, and movie theaters will be closed, ski slopes are off-limits to all but competitive skiers and cafes and restaurants must shut down in early evenings, under a decree signed on Sunday by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who ruled against another severe lockdown despite a current surge in COVID-19 infections. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Government scientific advisers say there are some signs the increase has begun to level off since a three-tier system of restrictions came into force, but that it is too soon to be certain.

A large chunk of northern England, including the major cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, has been placed in the top tier of “very high” risk, with pubs closed and people from different households barred from mixing.

Lawmakers in the Czech Republic, which has been one of the hardest-hit nations in the pandemic's resurgence in Europe, are set to approve this week a government plan to draft up to 300 military health personnel from NATO and EU countries to help treat the influx of patients.

People pass a sign reading 'Face masks mandatory from here' in the deserted city of Berchtesgaden, Germany, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Authorities have posed the Berchtesgaden region under a lockdown since Oct. 20, 2020 due to a rising number of cases of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the district of Berchtesgadener Land. Local authorities in Bavaria's Rottal-Inn county, on the border with Austria, said Monday that the restrictions will begin at midnight. (AP PhotoMatthias Schrader)

They will help their Czech colleagues at Prague’s military hospital and at a field hospital for 500 patients that the armed forces completed over the weekend at Prague’s exhibition ground. The first group of 28 National Guard doctors from the United States is expected to arrive later this week.

Croatia, where the tourism minister tested positive over the weekend, is looking for help closer to home, urging retired doctors and medical students to join the fight against the virus. Authorities also are preparing the main indoor arena in the capital, Zagreb, as a potential makeshift COVID-19 hospital as hospitals fill with new coronavirus patients.

In Germany, the rising coronavirus numbers prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party on Monday to delay for the second time a decision on who will become its new leader — one that had already been pushed by the pandemic from the spring to December.

An Italian Carabinieri paramilitary police car patrols an empty street leading to the Spanish Steps and Trinita' dei Monti Church Rome, early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Since midnight last Friday and for the next 30 days, people in Lazio are not allowed to leave their homes from midnight to 5 a.m. daily, except to go to or return from work or for other urgent reasons such as health issues. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Whoever wins the Christian Democratic Union’s leadership will be in a position to become the center-right candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor in a German election expected next fall, although that isn’t guaranteed.

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Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. Associated Press reporters across Europe contributed.

Musicians wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, perform as a woman records a video with her cellphone on Ermou Street, Athens' main shopping area, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Greece's government has imposed a nightly curfew in greater Athens and other areas with high infection rates as well as more generalized mask use as the daily number of deaths and infections nationwide has rising in recent weeks. (AP PhotoThanassis Stavrakis)

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Follow all of AP’s coronavirus coverage at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

People sit at a restaurant in Piazza Navona, in Rome, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. For at least the next month, people outdoors except for small children must now wear masks in all of Italy, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, and movie theaters will be closed, ski slopes are off-limits to all but competitive skiers and cafes and restaurants must shut down in early evenings, under a decree signed on Sunday by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who ruled against another severe lockdown despite a current surge in COVID-19 infections. (AP PhotoAndrew Medichini)

People sit in a terrace of a bar in downtown Madrid, Spain, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoManu Fernandez)

A resident walks with a dog on an empty street after curfew in Barcelona on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. Spain orders nationwide curfew to stem worsening outbreak. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has declared a second nationwide state of emergency in hopes of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. (AP PhotoEmilio Morenatti)