Europe continues to battle 2nd Covid-19 wave

Europe has continued its battle with a second wave of the novel coronavirus, with several countries reporting a record surge in the number of single-day confirmed cases.

On Friday, Germany, Greece and Slovenia set new records for daily cases, a day after Italy, Portugal and Lithuania hit their single-day highs, reports Xinhua news agency.

German national disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said that new Covid-19 infections in the country broke Thursday’s record with 7,334 cases confirmed within one day, bringing the total number to 348,557.

Thursday’s daily figure of 6,638 had marked a jump of some 1,500 over the day before. The previous daily infection peak, at around 6,300 cases, was registered in March, German news agency dpa reported.

Increased infection numbers were linked particularly to private celebrations with family and friends. However, there were also more Covid-19-related outbreaks reported in older people’s homes and nursing homes, according to the RKI.

Meanwhile, France confirmed 25,085 Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, increasing the total count to 834,770.

The number of new infections was lower than a record 30,621 registered on Thursday, but it remained at a high level unseen during the first wave.

In Italy, the first European country battered by the pandemic, 10,010 new coronavirus infections were reported on Friday, pushing the total number to 391,611,.

Due to the grim development, countries have started to turn to tougher measures against the second wave.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday defended his government’s coronavirus restrictions as “the right and responsible thing to do” in the fight to curb the spread of the disease in the country.

“Without action, our health service will be overwhelmed,” he said. “I want to avoid another national lockdown.”

Also on Friday, the region of Kozani in northern Greece became the first area of the country to enter lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic.

Authorities announced that until October 29, protective face masks will be compulsory everywhere, and public gatherings and traveling outside the region are forbidden. Retail shops, restaurants, cinemas, and gyms will remain closed for two weeks.

In Cyprus, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that because of the possibility of the coronavirus to get out of control in the country, President Nicos Anastasiades would chair a meeting of the scientific team advising the ministry to consider new restrictive measures.

In Slovenia, new restrictions kicked in as of Friday in the country’s so-called “red” regions.

Two more of Slovenia’s 12 statistical regions have been turned from “orange” into “red” on the coronavirus incidence meter, which means that lockdown restrictions now apply in nine regions in total.

Bars, restaurants and sports facilities will close in all “red” regions on Saturday as part of the tightened coronavirus measures.