Germany has recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases in more than three months, as European countries struggle to stem an increase in infections.
More than 1,200 cases have been reported in Germany in the past 24 hours. Officials said the increase was due, in part, to people returning from vacation.
It came as Germany warned of non-essential travel to parts of Spain.
Meanwhile, France recorded 2,524 new cases in 24 hours, the biggest daily increase since its lockdown was lifted in May.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it added a partial warning to Spain’s capital Madrid and the Basque Country on Tuesday as infections rose. Warnings were already in place for the regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre.
Germany has recorded more than 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
A “critical moment” for Spain
Spain faces the worst coronavirus infection rate in Western Europe. It recorded 1,418 new infections in its last daily count on Tuesday and said there were 675 “active outbreaks” in the country.
Salvador Macip, an expert in health sciences at the Open University of Catalonia, told AFP news agency that the country was at a “critical moment”.
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“We’re right to a point where things can get better or worse. This means that we must do everything we can to stop epidemics before they become more serious, ”he said.
In total, Spain has recorded more than 326,000 cases – the highest number in Western Europe and the 11th in the world.
Mask compulsory in Brussels
Wearing a face mask became mandatory in all public spaces in Brussels on Wednesday amid an increase in cases.
The ordinance applies to people aged 12 and over. Previously, people were only required to wear masks in crowded public spaces and closed areas in the Belgian capital, such as shopping malls.
Authorities said the tightened rules were introduced due to an increase in infections, with Brussels recording an average of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per day over the past week.
Police checks are being stepped up to make sure people obey the new rules.
The regulations on wearing a mask are one of the strictest currently in force in Europe.
Belgium has recorded more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,800 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.
Paris cancels a rescheduled marathon
This year’s Paris marathon has been called off as France faces a spike in coronavirus cases, organizers said on Wednesday.
The marathon was originally scheduled to take place on April 5, but was later postponed to November 15 due to the pandemic.
Organizers said they had “tried everything to keep the event going” but felt “compelled” to cancel it.
“There will be a great disappointment among those who sacrificed their time in training for what had become a fall marathon,” they said.
The organizers are now working on the 2021 marathon.
The announcement came after Paris became the last French city to make face masks mandatory in busy outdoor spaces. Face masks were already mandatory across the country in closed public spaces.
A government spokesperson said on Wednesday that France will gradually step up police checks to ensure people respect social distancing and wear masks when necessary.
“We are at a tipping point … We are going to mobilize the police to carry out checks,” Gabriel Attal told reporters.
France has now recorded a total of 206,696 cases of the virus.