Europe in grips of second wave of coronavirus as another holiday hotspot is hit

Parts of Europe are seeing a second wave of coronavirus, including another Spanish holiday destination that is popular with British tourists.

It comes as France could be added to the UK’s quarantine list as cases continue to rise.

Spain and France have this week recorded their highest number of daily coronavirus infections since they began easing lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the virus’ spread.

As a town near Madrid is locked down, officials in northern Spain’s Basque Country, which includes San Sebastian and Bilbao, announced on Thursday they were seeing a second wave that could rival the initial peak in March.

Belgium is reportedly going to be added to the UK’s 14-day quarantine list due to a dramatic rise in cases, and infections in Germany have breached the 1,000 threshold for the first time since early May.

The UK is also bracing for a second wave of Covid-19, as researchers warn it could be much worse than the first wave that peaked in early April.

The number of confirmed cases increased again on Wednesday, with almost 900 people testing positive in the previous 24 hours.

The Government has warned that it will impose local lockdowns if it detects signs of a surge in cases in towns and cities.

Boris Johnson postponed a further easing of lockdown measures in England due to the increase.

England has seen a 17 per cent increase in cases in the last week, according to new NHS Test and Trace figures. A local localdown has been imposed in Aberdeen, in Scotland, due to a fresh outbreak with 79 cases.

Tougher restrictions were recently put in place in Greater Manchester, where a major incident was declared following a rise in infections, and parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Here is what is happening in Europe.



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The regional government in Basque Country – a destination that is popular with Britons – has said the region is experiencing a second wave that could rival that of the initial peak in March.

Almost 340 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, with 126 of them in Bilbao and 13 in San Sebastian.

Regional Health Minister Nekane Murga warned the virus was gaining ground and the number of new infections was rising daily.

There are currently 2,000 active infections and 10,000 contacts are being monitored.

Ms Murga urged residents to wear a mask in public and follow social distancing guidelines.

France, meanwhile, has urged its citizens to avoid travelling to the Aragon region which has also seen cases skyrocket in recent weeks. It comes after a similar warning for Catalonia, including Barcelona, as an uptick in cases there led to Spain being put on England’s quarantine list.

Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia have registered more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period.

The capital of one of Spain’s best-known wine producing regions is being put on lockdown after a judge today approved a regional government plan to quarantine the town of Arando de Duero.

It has a population of around 33,000 people and lies on the River Douro around an half and a half’s drive north of Madrid’s Barajas Airport.

Arando de Duero is the capital of the Ribera del Duero wine region. Ribera del Duero y Rioja wines are the most popular wines in Spain and the best-known internationally.

Several multinational corporations including Michelin and GlaxoSmithKline have large facilities in the area.

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The lockdown order, which will come into effect on Friday, follows a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases.

It means people will be banned from entering and leaving the municipality, which includes the town of Aranda de Duero and outlying areas, unless it is for a limited number of reasons including work obligations or health problems.

People needing to pass through the area will be allowed to do so, but will not be allowed to stop.

Residents and visitors are being discouraged from making any unnecessary journeys.

The court-backed order, the equivalent of a return to phase one when Spain was easing out of its state of emergency, also means meetings of more than 10 people are banned.

Aranda de Duero becomes the third municipality in the Castilla y Leon region to return to phase one because of an out-of-control Covid-19 outbreak.

The other two are Iscar and Pedrajas de San Esteban in the province of Valladolid, following an outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse.


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France recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus infections in more than two months, according to figures released on Wednesday.

They showed 1,695 new cases within 24 hours.

The increase raised the prospect of France joining Spain on England’s quarantine “red” list, meaning people arriving in the UK from France would be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Toulouse, Lille and Nice have imposed new rules requiring face masks in busy streets, and Paris and a number of other cities are expected to bring in similar measures.

The French government’s top scientific body said of the crisis in its country: “The situation is precarious. We could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control, like in Spain.

“It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter.”


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Belgium is set to be added to England’s quarantine list after a rise in cases, causing problems for thousands who travel each day between Brussels and London on the Eurostar or on fligths.

The regional government in Brussels said it will require people to wear masks in public spaces and in private spaces accessible to the public if the uptick in infections continues.

The order will kick in when the daily average of cases per 100,000 inhabitants reaches 50 over seven days, Rudi Vervoort, the minister-president of the Brussels region, said.

The daily average in the region was 38.4 last week.

Belgium imposed sharp curbs on social contacts on July 27 after coronavirus infections surged in recent weeks.

The British government said on Thursday it would impose a quarantine on arrivals from Belgium, following Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and Norway.

Germany and the Netherlands have also advised their citizens against travelling to the province of Antwerp in the north of Belgium, where the first curfew since World War II was imposed on July 29 to slow rapidly increasing infections.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has designated all of Belgium as a code orange for the new coronavirus, meaning the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is 20 or above for two weeks.

Belgium, where the European Union and Nato have their headquarters, imposed a lockdown on March 18 due to Covid-19, which has claimed 9,859 lives in the country, one of the world’s highest fatality figures per capita.


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The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in Germany has breached the 1,000 threshold for the first time since early May, in the latest sign that slackening social distancing is raising the risk of a second wave of the disease.

According to data published by the Robert Koch Institute early on Thursday morning, the number of new infections rose by 1,045 to 213,067, breaching a key psychological barrier after creeping up for weeks.

With Europe’s largest economy only now starting to recover from the near-total lockdown that was imposed in March to stem the disease’s spread, any sign of renewed restrictions on the horizon will dismay investors.

Germany on Thursday said people returning from high-risk countries will have to undergo tests on arrival. The measure comes into effect on Saturday.


Greece reported its highest single-day increase in cases since mid-April, with 124 new infections in the last 24 hours up to Wednesday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greeks would need to comply with strict restrictions, and warned against “complacency”.

He said of the “worrying” rise: “We still don’t know how many months we will be forced to live with the virus.”


Malta is also said to be in danger of being added to the travel quarantine list.

There are 267 active cases there as of Thursday.

Four children were among 20 new cases.

Of the new cases, eight are part of a cluster linked to Paceville, the island’s entertainment centre, the Times of Malta reported.

Four festivals scheduled to take place on the island this month have been cancelled due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.


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