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On Thursday, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, announced that 230 million Europeans are living under national lockdown. This comes as countries including Malta and the UK record record daily COVID figures this week.

Dr Kluge said that whilst Europe has seen over “26 million confirmed COVID cases, and over 580,000 confirmed COVID deaths”, the world has hit a “tipping point” in the course of the pandemic, “where science, politics, technology and values must form a united front, in order to push back this persistent and elusive virus.”

According to Dr Kluge, transmission across Europe has “sustained very high rates of infection”. He is also concerned that reduced testing over the holiday period may have lulled European countries into a sense of false sense of security by artificially lowering the number of positive test results.

Dr Kluge also encouraged mass vaccination in every country, “we simply cannot afford to leave any country, any community behind”.

In Malta, where new daily COVID cases hit their highest on Wednesday, the Government has announced that additional measures may need to be taken should the spike continue. On Thursday SME Chamber CEO, Abigail Mamo, told BusinessNow.mt that the closure of retail businesses was not expected.

Retail sale volumes declined overall in the EU during November, as several countries imposed new restrictive measures. In Malta, where measures have been comparatively loose, retail trade volumes increased in November by 1.8 per cent.

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