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China tests entire city for coronavirus as Europe tightens controls

BEIJING: China rushed Tuesday to test an entire city of nine million people within days after a minor coronavirus outbreak in the sprawling country, a far cry from the struggle in Europe to tackle surging infections with tough new steps including partial lockdowns.

The virus is still spreading rapidly worldwide, with over one million deaths and 37 million infections, and many nations that suppressed their first outbreaks now face a second wave.

Without a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread unchecked.

China — where Covid-19 first emerged late last year — launched a drive to test all residents of Qingdao after a handful of cases were detected on Sunday.

More than four million samples had been collected and 1.9 million results returned as of Tuesday afternoon, Qingdao authorities said, adding that no new cases had been found beyond already confirmed infections.

Chinese officials intend to test the entire city — around 9.4 million people — by Thursday.

In scenes contrasting with the fumbled testing efforts elsewhere, health workers in protective clothing swiftly set up tents and residents queued deep into Monday night to provide samples.

In Europe, governments are battling to curb surges with new controls and increased testing, while trying to avoid the devastating nationwide lockdowns of March and April.

Read more: Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the Netherlands will go into “partial lockdown” from 2000 GMT on Wednesday, with all bars, cafes and restaurants to close for two weeks at least.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce tighter restrictions and faster testing in a prime-time TV interview Wednesday night, with some media speculating Paris and other cities could face evening curfews.

Russia on Tuesday reported its highest-ever number of daily virus deaths, at 244, and a record number of new cases at almost 14,000.

Italy imposed new, tougher rules to control a resurgence, including an end to parties, amateur football matches and snacking at bars at night.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday became the latest high-profile figure to go into quarantine after coming into contact with a person with Covid-19.

And Portugal s football federation said star striker Cristiano Ronaldo had tested positive for the virus.

Britain s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country has the highest death toll in Europe, on Monday had already ordered pubs in Liverpool to shut as part of a new strategy.

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