Several European countries — including Spain, Belgium, and France — have seen daily coronavirus cases tick up, and some are imposing stricter measures such as curfews and quarantines.
The World Health Organisation chief said on Monday that the pandemic “continues to accelerate” globally and that cases had roughly doubled in the past six weeks.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the continent appeared to be at the start of a second wave.
The UK has imposed a coronavirus quarantine for people arriving from Spain.
Thomas Colson and Adam Bienkov
Source: Business Insider
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Europe appears to be at the beginning of a second wave of coronavirus infections, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday, as several countries on the continent report an uptick in cases and reimpose restrictions.
Belgium, Germany, Spain, and France have recently seen surges in cases, and some governments have introduced measures including curfews and quarantines. The World Health Organisation chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday that the pandemic “continues to accelerate” globally.
Johnson, whose government this week imposed a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from Spain after a rise in cases in some regions, said there were signs that a second wave was hitting the continent.
“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends: I’m afraid you are starting to see, in some places, the signs of a second wave of the pandemic,” Johnson told Sky News.
He added that “what we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.”
While cases in the UK have flattened in recent weeks, there are signs that they may be rising again in England following the lifting of most lockdown measures.
Some European countries have reimposed some restrictions following an increase in cases.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Monday that households would be able to meet with only five other people over four weeks, down from 15, and that the number of people allowed to attend indoor public events would be halved, to 100. The average number of daily cases reported in Belgium has risen to 279 from 80 earlier in July.
“We are acting again today to keep the situation under control and to prevent a general lockdown,” Wilmes said, according to Reuters. She added that the people with infections now appeared to be more contagious than those infected when the country locked down in March.
Meanwhile, France has imposed curfews for some beaches in Brittany, where authorities have recorded a cluster of cases. The country’s so-called R-rate — which needs to remain below 1 for a viral outbreak to be considered contained — rose to 1.3 over the weekend. The average number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in France has risen to 677 from 434 in June, according to a Reuters tally.
Reports have said the UK could force holidaymakers who visit France to quarantine for 14 days when they return.
Many countries in Europe are struggling to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the health hazards of encouraging visitors from other countries.
The UK’s placing Spain on the quarantine list prompted anger from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who called the move an “error.” Spain has recorded an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, many of them in the regions of Catalonia and Aragon. Germany on Tuesday warned against tourist travel to the “autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra.”
Tedros said on Monday that global cases had roughly doubled in the past six weeks.
“This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the international health regulations, but it is easily the most severe,” he said, adding that the UN health agency had recorded nearly 16 million cases and more than 640,000 deaths to date.