Spain is reimposing new safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus after seeing an uptick in new infections, while France and Germany are also recording a rising number of new cases, weeks after the European nations lifted some of their toughest restrictions.
- New cases continue to rise in Spain, with 900 new infections reported on Friday, around a month after a nationwide state of emergency was lifted.
- In a blow to current and hopeful holidaymakers, the British Foreign Office is now warning against all but essential travel to mainland Spain, while anyone who does go will need to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the U.K., ministers announced on Saturday.
- The abrupt decision is a reversal on the British government’s stance just two weeks ago, that holidaymakers coming from Spain would not need to self-isolate.
- Norway is also asking those returning from Spain to self-isolate, while France is warning its residents against travel to Spain’s north-east region of Catalonia, one of the nation’s hardest hit regions whose 4 million residents were urged to stay at home last week.
- Meanwhile, France is experiencing a spike in infections not seen since May, with 1,000 fresh cases reported on Thursday and Friday this week, particularly among young and asymptomatic people, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
- In Germany, the number of new infections hit a two-month high on Saturday, with a further 781 cases, slightly down from 815 cases on Friday, according to the nation’s Robert Koch institute.
On Sunday, Spain's Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, sought to allay concerns following Britain's decision, saying: "Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists.”
1.3. That’s how many individuals each sick person in Spain has gone on to infect, on average, over the past two weeks. It sounds small, but in the context of the virus, the R or reproduction number represents how many people one sick person can go on to infect. As the R number in Spain has been above 1 for at least two weeks, growth of the virus risks becoming exponential, according to El Pais.
Spain has been one of the European countries worst affected by coronavirus. The nation has reported more than 28,000 deaths to date, behind the U.K. (45,000), Italy (35,000) and France (30,000). After weeks of waning infections, officials are now warning a second wave is quickly approaching, particularly after major cities such as Barcelona and Madrid have seen rising new infections. The focus is now on young people who gather in crowds potentially catching and spreading the virus to older members of their family. Authorities have shut nightclubs in Catalonia and put curfews in place for the next two weeks, while sporting and cultural events have also been called off.
The rise in coronavirus cases in Europe echoes a trend seen globally, as the World Health Organization counted a record one-day increase in new cases, wth almost 285,000 new infections on Friday. The U.S. and Brazil accounted for almost half of those infections.