French health authorities have reported 16,096 new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours. A total of 31,511 people have died from coronavirus in France and 497,237 cases have been reported.
The UK has reported 6,634 new cases, bringing its total confirmed cases to 416,363, Public Health England (PHE) tweeted.
“This is the highest number on record and a stern warning to all of us. The signals are clear. Positivity rates are increasing in all age groups and we continue to see spikes in hospital and intensive care admission rates, ”said Public Health England Medical Director Yvonne Doyle.
Forty more deaths were reported in the UK on Thursday and its death toll, according to PHE, now stands at 41,902 – the highest in Europe.
Spain’s health ministry reported 10,653 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to 704,209. The Madrid region has reported 210,768 cases, or nearly 30% of the national total.
The country’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Friday his government had recommended a full lockdown in the capital. “I think we have difficult weeks ahead for Madrid and that we need to act decisively,” Illa said.
The Czech Republic reported 2,913 new infections on Friday, its second-highest daily increase. The number of cases in Germany rose from 2,143 to 278,070 on Thursday, according to data from the national infectious disease agency, the Robert Koch Institute. Although that figure is well below its record of nearly 7,000 daily cases in early April, the number of cases is still on an upward trajectory – and Germany has been one of the few countries to have carried out any widespread testing at the start of the pandemic.
This surge comes as thousands of students across Europe have started to isolate themselves after the Covid-19 outbreaks.
The 2,500 students of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland’s most prestigious hotel school, are quarantined after epidemics linked to “one or more parties,” the Vaud region said on Wednesday.
Several Scottish universities have reported outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to illicit gatherings during the start-of-session celebrations known as’ Freshers’ Week ‘.
On Wednesday, 600 Glasgow University students were asked to self-isolate after 124 new cases were confirmed. St. Andrews University, one of the UK’s most elite colleges and Prince William’s alma mater, asked students to go into voluntary lockdown last Friday after a hike in cases where it was tied to a party.
Meanwhile, UK grocery giant Tesco on Friday announced limits to three items on essentials, including flour, dried pasta, toilet paper and antibacterial wipes, to avoid the panic buying that sparked shortages in the spring.
A spokesperson said: “We have good availability, sufficient stock and we encourage our customers to shop normally. “
Europe under pressure
There are 6,031 people hospitalized with coronavirus in France, the highest number since July 22, including 1,048 people in intensive care. A total of 1,048 contagion clusters are under observation (11 in 24 hours).
The Parisian public hospital authority announced that it would start canceling some non-elective procedures in the coming days to make room for coronavirus patients, although it said it would be on a case-by-case basis and not “global cancellation like in mid-March. ”
While the dramatic increase in the number of cases in Europe is partly explained by greater testing capacity, many countries are also seeing a higher percentage of tests coming back positive, according to health experts.
The continent reported a record 55,270 new daily cases on a seven-day moving average Thursday, but only 550 new deaths, according to CNN analysis of figures from Johns Hopkins University. Hospitals and individuals are now better prepared to deal with the virus, but there are fears that deaths will increase as colder weather and flu season arrives.
The European health commissioner has warned that Europe is at a “decisive moment” to face its second wave, and the measures taken now will determine the severity of the restrictions needed in the months to come.
Italy, the most affected European country at the start of the pandemic, reported a relatively small increase of 1,786 new cases on Thursday, but its Minister of Health warned: “The situation in Europe is serious and cannot be under estimated.
“I believe we need to keep our feet on the ground and continue to invest in the cautious line. “
CNN’s Amy Cassidy, Niamh Kennedy, Nadine Schmidt and Livia Borghese contributed to this report.