Madir/Paris: An increase in coronavirus cases across Europe threatens to snuff out hopes of a quick recovery as locations from Aberdeen to Catalonia reinstate measures to control the disease.
Spain, Germany and France all recorded jumps in the number of people infected with the virus this week. At the same time, a slew of companies across the continent announced jobs cuts, with industries from travel and hospitality to banking and insurance reeling from the pandemic.
In Spain, one of the worst-affected countries on the continent along with Italy, daily cases climbed to 1,772 in the past 24 hours. That’s the highest since the government changed they way it compiled the data on May 25, though it’s still well below the figure at the peak of the outbreak. The surge was led by the regions of Aragon and Madrid.
The uptick couldn’t have come at a worse time for the country’s hard-hit tourism industry. Europe’s most popular holiday destination came under further pressure this week as more countries followed the U.K.’s lead in imposed restrictions on people traveling to Spain.
Switzerland imposed a 10-day quarantine on anyone returning from the Spanish mainland, while Belgium banned its citizens from traveling to the region of Catalonia, which imposed a lockdown last month to contain an outbreak.
Germany’s daily infections rose above 1,000 for the time since mid-June on Thursday. The 1,285 new cases were the highest in more than three months, prompting Health Minister Jens Spahn to appeal to citizens to respect hygiene and distancing rules, including the wearing of masks in public places.
He also announced that Germany will make free tests compulsory from Saturday for travelers returning from designated high-risk areas, unless they can provide a recent negative result.
“These latest numbers show that the pandemic is not yet over,” Spahn said at a news conference in Berlin. “What is worrying is the rise in numbers that we have seen in recent days and weeks,” he added. “If it continues then things will really become difficult.”
Infections in France have also accelerated, in spite of rules making masks mandatory in dozens of cities including Toulouse and Lille. The seven-day rolling average of new cases increased to more than 1,000 in the past week, the first time that’s happened since the first half of May. The rolling average stood at 1,262 cases on Wednesday, having more than doubled in the past three weeks.
The spread appears to have been fueled by young adults who have flouted anti-virus guidelines discipline. That prompted Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday to call on the French to maintain an anti-Covid discipline throughout the summer to avoid a “new general lockdown” later in the year.
The U.K. has had the highest number of deaths related to Covid-19 in Europe, with more than 46,000, though its confirmed cases appears to be leveling off — at least for now. Still, renewed lockdowns in northern England and the Scottish oil hub of Aberdeen underline the precarious situation even as the economy showing signs of a faster rebound than initially expected. -Bloomberg
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