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Coronavirus: Belgium Death Toll Passes 10,000

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Belgium remains one of the hardest hit countries with covid-19.  With a population of more than eleven million, the country has now recorded ten thousand fatalities.

Belgium had more than 250 deaths daily during the peak of the pandemic in April.

The Belgian government says testing capacity has been stepped up, which has led to a sharp rise in the number of positive cases recorded, particularly now that people have returned to work and school after the summer holidays.

Meanwhile, Romania, too, has witnessed a spike in coronavirus infections by a record twenty-one hundred in the twenty-four hours between Tuesday and Wednesday.

This brings to more than one hundred twenty-seven thousand, the total number of infections in the country.  Forty-eight hundred twenty-five infected persons have died so far. The government has extended a state of alert until mid-October.

Since the government eased lockdown restrictions in May, protective masks have become mandatory in public transport and indoor public spaces.

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Washington: Security Ahead Of Inauguration

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Security has been stepped up in Washington, DC, to ensure safety at the presidential inauguration today.

Thousands of police officers and national guard troops have been stationed throughout the city as workers set up metal fences and barriers around the White House and the capitol building to avoid further possible violent clashes in the coming days.

Many streets have been completely blocked and some areas guarded with high fences.  Only those holding inauguration passes are allowed to get through.

worried about internal attacks or other threats by those involved in the guard work at the inauguration ceremony, the FBI has been conducting background checks on the national guard soldiers in the city to protect against insider attacks.  Twelve of those guard troops have so far been removed from inauguration duty.

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Italy PM Conte Wins Crucial Senate Vote To Stay In Power

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Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte has won a 156 to 140 crucial vote to stay in power days after former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his party out of the coalition.

Opposition parties say they plan to ask president Sergio Mattarella to intervene to force him to resign.

The main parties in his coalition are the anti-establishment five star (M5s) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

The prime minister told the senate it was vital to maintain political cohesion faced with the “historic challenge” of the pandemic.

Political observers say even if Conte had lost the vote, a snap election was not a certainty as president Mattarella still has the option of inviting him to assemble a new coalition.

Conte, a law professor, has led a centrist coalition since 2018.

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Scotland Lockdown Extended Until At Least The Middle Of February, Nicola Sturgeon Announces

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Scotland’s minister, Nicola Sturgeon has announced an extension of the current lockdown till mid-February.

Sturgeon says despite the reduction in COVID-19 numbers, any relaxation of the rules while infection rates remain high could “quickly send the situation into reverse.”

Schools and nurseries, which were meant to emerge from lockdown at the start of next month, will also remain closed.  Exceptions are made until mid-February for vulnerable children and those of key workers.

Authorities are appealing to scots to remain cautious despite the decline in the number of new coronavirus cases.

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