SPAIN has suffered over 12,000 daily coronavirus cases – as global infections topped a record 300,000 in one day.
Fears are growing of a second surge of the virus across the world as countries mull new restrictions to stem the spread.
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Large European nations are seeing a significant spike in infections, as France’s daily cases topped 10,000 for the first time on Saturday and Spain’s soared to 12,183 on Friday.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has declined to announce any nationwide restrictions in response to the rise in cases – despite acknowledging a “clear worsening” in the country’s infection rate.
Spanish authorities, meanwhile, have highlighted the country’s bustling nightlife scene as the cause of the new surge in infections – and have launched a new #EstoNoEsUnJuego (#ThisIsNotAGame) campaign to encourage youngsters to socially distance and avoid crowds.
Both countries have not seen a rise in fatalities – which experts believe is caused by the virus predominantly spreading among young people who are at less risk of severe health complications.
Hard-hit regions of Spain – such as Madrid and Catalonia – have recently seen social gatherings limited to ten people while Murcia limits gatherings to just six.
An increase in testing, particularly in France, could explain the surge in cases in both countries.
But the lack of widespread testing in the early stages of the pandemic make it difficult to compare with the new outbreak – as it is thought that many more people were catching the bug in March but weren’t being tested.
However, the positivity rate – which is the share of tests that return a positive result – has risen to 11 per cent in Spain and 5.4 per cent in France according to tracker OurWorldInData.
The positivity rate is considered a good metric for measuring the extent of the pandemic as it indicates the level of testing relative to the size of the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation said in May that a country does not have the pandemic under control until the positivity rate is lower than 5 per cent.
Other countries in Europe, however, have not seen a notable surge in infections.
Sweden, which controversially chose not to lockdown in March and opted for a strategy of ‘herd immunity’, has seen infections remain stable with its 7-day case rate standing at just 134 as of September 13.
The new outbreaks on the continent come as part of a global surge in cases, with the World Health Organisation reporting a record one-day rise of 307,930 infections in 24 hours.
India saw the largest rise in infections of 94,732 on Sunday, while the US reported 45,523 cases and Brazil recorded 43,718.
President Donald Trump told a White House briefing on Thursday that Spain was struggling with the crisis even more than the US, which has the world’s highest death toll at 198,533.
But Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa hit back: “I don’t think anyone is in a position to teach lessons on this subject. With all due respect to the American nation, especially not its current president.”
Israel is also set to become the first country to impose a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown – which will take place during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night announced that schools, restaurants, shopping centres and hotels would shut on Friday for the next three weeks following a surge in Covid-19 infections.
The country, which managed to deal effectively with the first wave of infections in the Spring through a tough national lockdown, has seen its daily case rate surge with over 4,100 infections recorded on September 12.
According to Worldometer, over 929,000 people have died from the virus worldwide.