News Around the World

1) Europe racing to limit second wave of coronavirus infections

Spain’s government, which saw one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns, has a new warning to its citizens. More than 850,000 people in the Madrid region will face limits on groups’ travel and sizes from Monday.

It comes as coronavirus infections across Europe continue to spike, with Spain reporting one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Madrid is once again the worst-hit region. Spain was already among the hardest hit European nations during the first wave of infections. Spanish authorities claim the country lost more than 30,000 lives due to the pandemic.

But other nations are also bracing for the second wave of coronavirus infections as winter approaches. The Irish government, for instance, announced strict new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin. Authorities are banning indoor restaurant dining and advise against all non-essential travel.

Ireland, one of the slowest countries in Europe to emerge from lockdown, has seen average daily case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks.

2) Raging wildfires roar across Pacific Northwest

Dozens of active wildfires, driven by unprecedented temperatures and high winds, have caused devastation across California and other states in the western United States.

This year alone, more than 2.2 million acres have been scorched since the start of the wildfire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE). The wildfire season continues for four more months.

CALFIRE said that as of Tuesday, there have been eight fatalities and over 3,300 structures destroyed. Currently, it has placed most of the state under a Red Flag Warning, including the Eastern Sierras, portions of the Bay area, and the Mojave Desert, as well as the Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles mountains.

The fires have also led to power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) had to shut off power to residents in over 22 counties in California to prevent sparks from its equipment from setting off more fires.

So far, nearly 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to the battle lines to fight the fires. Helicopter crews and emergency responders are also actively involved in evacuating affected areas.