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Although the UK government blamed the spike on a “technical issue” where previously unreported infections from the past week had been added to the total, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday: “This could be a very tough winter for all of us.

“It’s gonna continue to be bumpy through to Christmas,” Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. “It may even be bumpy beyond,” he said. According to the British government, the UK so far has a total of 480,017 recorded Covid-19 cases and 42,317 deaths.

Other countries have been setting grim records: Europe’s death rate has been rising, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Thursday in its weekly report.
In France, the national health agency recorded a daily record on Saturday, with 16,972 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, surpassing last week’s record of 16,096. On Thursday, heath minister Olivier Véran warned that Paris is in danger of returning to lockdown as soon as Monday, after the government said the situation was worsening in the capital.

Poland reported 2,367 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, hitting a record high for the third day in a row, according to a series of tweets by the country’s health ministry, while Italy reported its highest daily increase since April 24, with 2,844 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.

Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that at the current rate of infection, her country could see more than 19,000 cases per day by the end of the year.

Germany reported 2,673 new coronavirus infections on Friday — the highest number of daily infections since April 18 — according to the center for disease and control, the Robert-Koch Institute.

Restrictions reintroduced

Having eased lockdown measures over the summer, many countries are now battling with how to keep cases down while still allowing their citizens some semblance of normality.

Following an emergency meeting with Germany’s 16 state premiers on Tuesday, Merkel introduced new coronavirus measures to curb the spread of infections in hotspot areas. In areas that register more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, private parties will have a limit of 25 people, while parties held in public spaces are now limited to 50 people.

Merkel on Wednesday appealed to citizens to “obey the rules” going into winter. “I am sure: life as we know it will return, but now we have to be reasonable,” she said.

Meanwhile, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week announced a ban on households mixing indoors for Liverpool and several other cities in northern England following a rapid rise in cases. The new measures also recommend against non-essential travel, amateur sports watching and care home visits except in exceptional circumstances.

Madrid locks back down as European leaders sound alarm on Covid-19 surges

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to defend his government’s handling of the crisis during an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show Sunday, acknowledging that people were “furious” at him and the government but insisting measures enforced nationally and locally were there to balance and protect the economy.

“What we want people to do is behave fearlessly but with common sense, to follow the guidance — whether national or local — get the virus down but allow us as a country to continue with our priorities,” he said, adding that we have a “moral imperative to save a life,” but we also have to “keep our economy moving and society going.”

Still, there has been some resistance to the latest measures.

Four people were detained and around 200 were fined for breaking anti-coronavirus restrictions in the Spanish capital of Madrid on Friday, as authorities began imposing stricter measures and tougher controls in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Madrid's Moncloa bus station is deserted after confinement measures in the city on October 3.

According to the Spanish National Police, the people involved were attending what it called a “massive party” at a personal property in the Madrid neighborhood of Aravaca.

The crackdown comes as tougher anti-coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Spanish government began to take effect in Madrid as of Friday night, leaving the Spanish capital in a form of lockdown.

A video tweeted by the Madrid Municipal Police on Saturday reminded Spaniards of the restrictions in place, showing police controls in one of the highways leading in and out of the city.

The new restrictions require people to stay at home except to go to work, classes, to do exams, to meet legal obligations or for extreme circumstances, while shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50%, to resort to table service only and to close earlier.

CNN’s Martin Goillandeau, Zahid Mahmood, Livia Borghese, Sharif Paget, Emma Reynolds and Vasco Cotovio contributed reporting.

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Turkey earthquake: Search for survivors continues

The search for survivors in Izmir, Turkey continues after a

powerful earthquake on Friday.

Work continued through the night to search for survivors in buildings that were destroyed as a result of the earthquake.

Around 100 survivors have been pulled out alive from the rubble so far, Turkey’s Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum told reporters.

However many people are still trapped and aftershocks have hampered rescue workers.

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Poland’s biggest protests in decades stand against abortion ban

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Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said more than 100,000 people were in attendance, while protest organizers put the figure at 150,000.

Police detained 37 people Friday evening, the vast majority of whom were football hooligans, Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police headquarters, said Saturday morning. Taking into account the huge number of participants, it was a “very peaceful” protest, he added.

Demonstrations of this scale were last seen in the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland which led to the collapse of the government, analysts say.

The protest in Warsaw was the culmination of nine days of nationwide protests since a court ruling on October 22 deemed abortion due to fetal defects to be unconstitutional. This meant abortion in Poland would only be legal in two scenarios — if the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life and health, or if a woman became pregnant following rape or incest.

Demonstrators also turned out in Gdańsk, Białystok, Poznan, Kraków, Wroclaw, Torun, Sczescin, Myślenice, Gorlice and Jasło on Friday.

According to local media, 430,000 people attended more than 400 demonstrations across the country against the ban on Wednesday. Online supporters are using the tag #ThisIsWar to show solidarity with those marching.

Polish women disrupt church services in protest at abortion ban

The protests have been taking place in defiance of a ban on gatherings of more than five people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aerial footage of the demonstration in Warsaw posted to social media showed the vast scale of the turnout there on Friday evening.

Protest organizers urged protesters to make their way towards the residence of Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party Leader (PiS) who is widely seen as the de facto decision maker in Poland. The demonstration ended there at around 11 p.m. local time and organizers urged protesters to make their way home safely.

Kaczyński on Wednesday called the protesters “criminals” and said people taking part in mass gatherings were endangering people’s lives given the surge in coronavirus cases in Poland.

Thousands of protesters march towards the residence of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski during the demonstration Friday in Warsaw.

Draft amendment

In an apparent softening of his stance, Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday submitted a draft amendment to the controversial law which would legalize abortion in situations where the baby has “lethal defects” and would die soon after birth.

The amendment would mean abortion would remain legal in an event where “prenatal tests or other medical indications indicate a high probability that the child will be born still or burdened with an incurable disease or defect that will lead to the death of the child inevitably and directly,” according to a statement from Duda on Friday.

“It is an extremely delicate and painful situation for every mother, for every parent. In the case of lethal defects, the death of the child is inevitable. The protection of his life is therefore beyond human power,” the statement also said.

Duda had earlier clarified his stance on abortion in such cases in an interview with Polish radio station RMF FM. “You must clearly ask yourself whether anyone has the right to demand, or the law may require such a woman to… bear such a child in her womb and then bear the entire physical cost of birth,” Duda said.

Duda added that he did not think abortion should be legal in situations where a child has Down syndrome, for example, and the life of the unborn child is not at risk.

Poland moves to near-total ban on abortion, sparking protests

The ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal removed one of the few remaining grounds for legal termination in the country, which already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Abortions due to fetal defects comprised approximately 98% of all legal abortions carried out in Poland in 2019, according to data from the Polish Ministry of Health.

Asked about the ongoing protests across Poland over the controversial court ruling, Duda condemned the demonstrators who disrupted church services earlier this week.

“If we are talking about acts of physical or verbal aggression, if we are talking about invading churches, if we are talking about insulting religious feelings, profaning places of worship, I am sorry, but the boundaries are definitely exceeded here,” he said.

Abortion rights protest leaders have accused the populist PiS party of pushing the court to tighten abortion restrictions in order to please the party’s base, and the Church. Church leaders have denied influencing the change in law.

Covid warning

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday urged protesters not to go out on the streets as he announced further steps to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“I understand your anger, but I urge you to stay at home, especially for the sake of seniors,” he said.

The measures include closing cemeteries for three days, urging business owners to allow employees to work from home and urging older citizens to remain at home.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told Polish news channel TVN24 on Friday that he looked with “great concern” at the protests and urged people to isolate themselves from those taking part, saying they could be more exposed to Covid-19.

On Friday, Poland recorded 21,629 new coronavirus cases, marking another record high in the country, where case counts have tripled in less than a month. A further 202 deaths were also reported by the Polish Health Ministry, with the total number of confirmed infections in the country surpassing 340,000.

CNN’s Zahid Mahmood contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus: Hungary and Poland see record cases

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Greece is the latest country to announce a partial lockdown, with restaurants and other leisure activities closed in major Greek cities from Tuesday. “We must act now, before intensive care units buckle under the strain of lives in danger,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday. Greece has not seen as many cases as other parts of Europe, but there has been a steady increase since early October

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