UK, France break daily record for coronavirus cases as Europe braces for second wave of pandemic

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Topline

The UK and France on Thursday saw record new daily coronavirus infections, and although officials partly attribute increased testing capacity, the figures point to a possible second wave of coronavirus sweeping through Europe.

Highlights

The UK on Thursday reported a record 6,634 new coronavirus cases, the highest number on record by the country, even before its nationwide lockdown.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News the situation was not as bad as it was at the peak of the pandemic, when the government estimated that up to 100,000 people were infected with the virus per day. , although lower testing rates at the time meant the daily infection numbers for that period did not reflect the true spread of the virus.

“Now we estimate that it’s less than 10,000 people a day who contract the disease,” Hancock said. “It’s too high, but it’s still a lot lower than at the top.”

Just across the Channel, France also counted a record 16,096 new daily cases on Thursday, the fourth time the record has been broken in the past week.

The news comes just after new coronavirus crackdowns were placed on cities like Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon to help mitigate a resurgence of new cases after the national lockdown was reduced.

As in the UK, French officials say improved testing means more infections are detected and recorded, although the country has seen a worrying trend of increasing hospitalizations – the number of coronavirus patients in Paris hospitals has doubled in recent weeks and will likely almost double it by October, an official with the Paris hospital system told Agence France-Presse.

Crucial quote

“While these figures reflect more comprehensive testing, they also show alarming transmission rates in the region,” World Health Organization European director Hans Kluge said last week according to the BBC, when new cases dailies began to compete with the peak of the pandemic in Spring. Kluge added that these numbers “should serve as a reminder for all of us. “

Key context

European countries, among the hardest hit at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, have been hailed as a role model for the rest of the world after their governments adopted tough nationwide lockdowns that drastically reduced the number of new ones coronavirus case. However, many of these successful countries have reported an upsurge in cases in recent months after leaving containment and gradually returning to more normal lives. Countries like Spain, France, the UK, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, France and the Netherlands have all had case jumps. Outbreaks of new infections – although not considered as severe as the situation in the spring, the peak of the pandemic in Europe – have led to New, often localized repressions in an attempt to keep new cases at bay. The spikes across the continent were blamed on young people fleeing social distancing guidelines and attending parties after long months of isolation and people going on vacation despite travel warnings. While the European resurgence of the virus is worrying, it is still a long way from the devastation seen in countries like the United States, which counted its 200,000th coronavirus death this week.

Further reading

UK reaches highest number of daily COVID-19 cases at 6,634, partly due to more testing (Reuters)

Record of infections in France as restrictions spark an uproar (AFP)

UK plans another lockdown as cases are set to hit 50,000 per day (Forbes)

France sets new daily coronavirus record – 13,000 cases – as other countries lock (Forbes)

WHO warns of “alarming” coronavirus growth rate in Europe (Forbes)

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