PARIS – France has recorded a record 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours and Spain has declared a new state of emergency to try to curb the rise in the number of Covid-19 as Europe is gripped by a second wave of pandemic.
France’s grim new stage follows a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The new cases brought the total to 1,138,507, with France now edging Argentina and Spain to record the fifth most cases in the world after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia.
In the past three days, France has recorded more than 139,000 new cases, more than the 132,000 cases recorded during the two-month lockdown from mid-March to mid-May.
The health ministry said 116 people had died from coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours, up from 137 on Saturday, bringing the total to 34,761.
The number of people testing positive in massive testing underway across the country has risen to 17%, from 16% on Saturday and around 7% a month ago.
Also on Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a new state of emergency in a bid to tackle the surge in coronavirus infections, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases.
The measures will come into effect from Sunday evening and will force all regions except the Canary Islands to impose a nighttime curfew and limit the number of people allowed to meet to six.
“We are living in an extreme situation… it is the most serious health crisis of the last century,” he said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.
Catalonia was one of the first regions on Sunday to use the new legislation to impose a curfew, which will go into effect at 10 p.m. Establishments open to the public must close at 9 p.m.
Police were patrolling the town before the curfew went into effect and residents have welcomed the new rule.
“I think in a way you had to take action because everything was getting a little out of hand,” said Paula, a vocational teacher. “I think more measures will come, but it’s a good start. “
Other regions that have announced curfews from Sunday evening include Cantabria and La Rioja.
Spain imposed one of the toughest lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, then eased restrictions over the summer.
But like many other European countries, it has seen a second wave in recent weeks and now has one of the highest infection numbers in Western Europe. The total number of cases rose to 1,046,132 on Friday, while the death toll approaches 35,000.