France, Germany see increase in coronavirus cases as holidaymakers return home

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                La France et l'Allemagne ont enregistré leurs pires taux d'infection quotidiens depuis des mois, avec des inquiétudes croissantes jeudi sur le fait que les cas de coronavirus pourraient augmenter en Europe au moment où les vacanciers rentrent chez eux et les enfants retournent à l'école.
            

La France, l'un des pays les plus touchés d'Europe, a enregistré mercredi de nouveaux cas de coronavirus au rythme quotidien le plus rapide depuis mai.

Nearly 3,800 Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, the French Ministry of Health’s DGS public health division said.

“All indicators continue to climb and transmission of the virus is intensifying,” the DGS said in a statement.

Toulouse became the first French city on Wednesday to declare face masks mandatory outside.

Masks are already mandatory on public transport in France and inside public places, amid fears that a massive movement of people at the end of the summer vacation could lead to a spike in infections.

Earlier this week, the French government announced that masks would also be needed in workplaces, including meeting rooms, hallways and open spaces.

Compulsory tests

Germany reported 1,707 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since the pandemic peaked in April.

The country has done better than many European neighbors in suppressing the virus so far, but like elsewhere, the number of cases has increased dramatically during the summer break.

Much of the increase was blamed on returning vacationers as well as parties and family reunions. Schools have already resumed last week in parts of Germany.

Face à la flambée des cas, l'Allemagne a introduit plus tôt ce mois-ci des tests gratuits et obligatoires pour toute personne revenant de régions jugées à haut risque d'infections à Covid-19.

And Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this week that there could be no further easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Spain recorded 6,700 new infections in 24 hours on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total to more than 370,000, the highest workload in Western Europe.

In Finland, the government on Wednesday removed most EU countries from its ‘green travel list’, meaning that only people arriving from a handful of states will be able to enter the country without coronavirus restrictions at from Monday.

Vaccines for everyone?

An ethics and safety debate rages around the world as the race to develop a vaccine accelerates.

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that the pandemic exacerbates inequalities between rich and poor, and called for universal vaccines not only for the richest.

Some governments have made deals with companies, hoping to secure exclusive supplies of vaccines once developed.

In the United States, the country’s main infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, has said the government will not make any future Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for the general public.

But he said local courts could make it mandatory for certain groups, like children.

“You don’t want to mandate and try to force anyone to get vaccinated. We’ve never done that, ”Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said in a video conference hosted by George Washington University on Wednesday.

His comments came hours after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that coronavirus vaccines, once approved, would be mandatory for everyone in his country, barring medical exemptions.

The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 780,000 people and infected more than 22 million, according to an AFP tally.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

            

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