Germany, France, Italy and Spain have seen their highest number of coronavirus infections in months, raising concerns that a second wave could be hitting the continent.
Germany recorded 1,707 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April, while authorities in France say ‘the transmission of the virus is accentuating’.
Meanwhile Spain has recorded a new single-day record for Covid-19 cases since the country emerged from a three-month lockdown in mid-June.
Germany has fared better than many European neighbours in suppressing the virus so far but like elsewhere, the number of cases has jumped significantly over the summer holidays.
Much of the rise has been blamed on returning holidaymakers as well as parties and family gatherings.
The latest figures, from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, bring to 228,621 the number of infections in the country since the start of the pandemic.
It takes the daily toll back to a level not seen since late April, when the pandemic was considered to be at its peak.
The daily record of new cases in Germany is just over 6,000, registered in early April.
Ten new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 9,253.
Faced with a surge in cases, Germany earlier this month introduced free, mandatory tests for anyone returning from areas deemed a high risk for COVID-19 infections.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Tuesday there could be no further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
She urged Germans to follow the rules on hygiene precautions and reminded travellers returning from risk areas that quarantine was not an option ‘but a must’ so long as they could not show a negative test.
Some experts however have said that the jump in the infection toll could be explained by a sharp rise in the number of tests being carried out in the country.
France recorded more than 3,700 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
Health authorities say that’s 1,500 more than the previous day. The number hospitalized and in ICUs was slightly down. But health authorities say ‘the transmission of the virus is accentuating’ among all age groups, especially young adults.
President Emmanuel Macron told Paris-Match magazine that ‘we can’t bring the country to a halt.’ But he’d consider ‘targeted reconfinement if the situation calls for it.’
French officials have confirmed nearly 30,500 deaths from COVID-19, seventh highest in the world.
Meanwhile Italy on Wednesday recorded the sharpest increase in coronavirus cases since late May, the health ministry said, after 642 new coronavirus infections were reported in 24 hours.
The total number of Italian cases recorded since the start of the pandemic is now 255,278, while the death toll stands at 35,412.
Spain’s Health Ministry says 3,715 coronavirus infections have been diagnosed in the past 24 hours, a new single-day record since the country emerged from a three-month lockdown in mid-June.
With 136 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the past two weeks, Spain tops the European chart of the highest cumulative incidence. It’s one of the main indicators closely monitored by epidemiologists.
New regulations, including on hours of nightlife and close outdoor smoking, take effect Thursday in the Spanish capital.
The country added 127 deaths to reach nearly 28,800 confirmed victims. However, the number doesn’t count those who suffered from the coronavirus but weren’t tested.
The World Health Organisation today warned that the Balkans region is a ‘hotspot’ for coronavirus amid mounting speculation Croatia could be added to the UK’s quarantine travel list tomorrow.
The WHO said the Balkans have been a ‘concern of ours since early June’ because of an increase in case numbers as it urged the region to impose additional measures to ‘nip transmission in the bud’.
The comments are likely to fuel fears that ministers will add Croatia to the Government’s travel ‘red list’ before the weekend.
In eastern Europe, Ukraine on Thursday reported a record daily increase in coronavirus infections, exceeding 2,000 new cases for the first time.
Health authorities recorded 2,134 new infections in the past 24 hours, bringing Ukraine’s total to 98,537.