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Europe locking down as coronavirus cases continue to surge

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Europe locking down as coronavirus cases continue to surge
Copyright  AP Photo

A spike in COVID-19 cases is prompting countries across Europe to increase lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

In Greece, citizens of Athens were streaming out of the capital to isolate in home villages or second homes on Saturday, ahead of a new rule that will only allow Greeks to leave their homes to purchase food and medicine or to exercise or walk a pet.

Meanwhile, in southern Italy, which suffered less than the north in the first wave of the pandemic, the central government is taking no chances despite recriminations from the regional administration.

A partial 15-day lockdown of the city of Reggio Calabria mirrors restrictions in three other regions aimed at stopping a resurgence of the virus.

In France, where almost 60,000 new cases were registered on Friday, authorities are trying to keep some essential travel going by providing PCR or antigen testing sites at Paris's two main airports.

People who need to fly can take one of the tests depending on the requirements of the destination country.

And in the UK on Friday, Liverpool began England's first city-wide trial of coronavirus testing in an attempt to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed during the country's second wave.

All 500,000 residents, as well as people working there, will be offered repeat tests, even if they have no symptoms. The trial will initially run for two weeks.

Poland posted a record-high number of coronavirus-related deaths on Friday as treatment began for the very first patient at a makeshift hospital in the country's national stadium.

445 deaths were recorded and over 27,000 new infections.