Joe Biden said top scientists would be appointed to his coronavirus task force

President-elect Joe Biden promised immediate action on Saturday to contain the coronavirus crisis in the United States. He signaled that science would dominate the national response once Donald Trump leaves the White House.

Biden’s promise, in his first national address since defeating Trump, followed three days of record-breaking infections in the United States and came when the country’s death toll exceeded 237,000.

The problems of the second wave in Europe also worsened. Greece was the youngest European nation to enter a lockdown on Saturday and Poland put new restrictions on people’s movement.

In France, where a dramatic surge in infections has put pressure on hospitals, 306 new confirmed deaths have brought the national death toll to over 40,000.

The United States has long been the worst hit nation.

Trump’s critics have attributed this to his chaotic response in which he discredited the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, discouraged face masks, and spoke at crowded election rallies.

At Biden’s victory event, which took social distancing guidelines into account, the president-elect announced that top scientists would be appointed to his coronavirus task force on Monday.

“On Monday, I’ll be appointing a group of senior scientists and experts as transition advisors to turn the Biden-Harris plan into an actual draft that will begin on January 20, 2021,” Biden told supporters.

Earlier in the day he had emphasized the urgency he had against the pandemic.

“I want everyone, everyone to know on the first day that we are going to put our plan to fight this virus into action,” Biden said before being declared the winner.

Unlike Biden, Trump hosted massive campaign events ahead of the November 3rd vote, insisting that the US would “round off the turnaround” despite the virus floods.

Trump struggled after contracting the virus himself.

Older members of his administration recently contracted the virus as well. Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows was the last to test positive, the media said late Friday.

Italy has imposed a national curfew for the night to fight the virus

Italy has imposed a national curfew for the night to fight the virus

European epicenter

Infections worldwide have surged to over 49 million, and Europe has become the new epicenter of the pandemic in recent weeks.

According to the new measures in Greece, people can only leave their homes if they make a cell phone request and get a permit.

Important stores, including supermarkets and pharmacies, can remain open.

Hairdressers were also allowed to stay open, but only two more days and they were fully booked.

“I want to get my hair done so that what I see in the mirror every morning during lockdown doesn’t make me sad,” Petrina said before her Sunday appointment.

The measures follow the imposition of severe restrictions in Italy, France, Ireland and the UK, while Germany and other nations have also introduced new measures.

The UK on Saturday banned the entry of all non-Danish residents after a mutant version of the mink farming coronavirus was found in humans.

Germany reported daily record numbers on Saturday with 23,399 new cases and 130 deaths.

But demonstrators, few of whom wore masks, protested against new restrictions in the east German city of Leipzig.

Organizers put the turnout at 20,000, while police said some attacked them after being told to disperse.

“I just see the collateral damage that these measures cause: the isolation of people, the bankruptcy that threatens them,” 39-year-old protester Robert Koehn told AFP.

The protest colleague Anne, 65, said: “For me there is no virus, you cite the coronavirus crisis as a motive, but there are other things behind it.”

In recent weeks there have also been demonstrations and police in parts of Italy and the Czech Republic.

In the mostly Catholic Philippines, where the world’s longest Christmas celebrations take place, beginning in September, people have tried to get in the festive mood despite banning public gatherings and imposing nightly curfews.

“With or without COVID, we have to celebrate Christmas whatever it takes. This is a Filipino tradition,” said Cecilia Moore, who wore a mandatory mask and paid 2,500 pesos ($ 52) for festive lights to close her home decorate.

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© 2020 AFP

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