SPAIN seems to be shutting down its second wave of Covid-19 without closing bars or imposing severe local lockdowns like those planned in the United Kingdom.
The country has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases after it began reopening non-essential businesses in mid-May and had the highest infection rate in Europe in August and September.
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Although still one of the worst affected countries, the average trend has started to decline.
Infections are down to an average of 9,500 this week from 11,200 two weeks ago.
This is despite the fact that the Spanish authorities keep bars and restaurants open and largely avoid local closures.
The exact reason for the fall is unclear, but the numbers may give hope to Britain, where some parts face shuttered bars and restaurants.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has closed pubs in central Scotland from tomorrow for at least two weeks to fight a coronavirus outbreak.
And today it emerged Boris Johnson is set to order pubs and restaurants to shut down the vast swathes of northern England and parts of the Midlands next week.
Cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham are expected to be affected by the lockdown.
Hospitality chefs, meanwhile, have warned that this could spell the end of many popular night spots and restaurants.
But Spain has avoided doing so, attempting to impose a strict lockdown on the capital Madrid, expelled from courts today after city leaders argued it would destroy the economy.
The measures adopted by Spain include curfews at 1 a.m. in bars and restaurants, compulsory table service, strict social distancing, face masks inside and outside.
Capacity limits have been imposed in crowded public places such as beaches.
EU leaders will keep a close eye on Spain’s declining totals as they attempt to cut infections while avoiding economically damaging lockdowns like those seen earlier this year.
All but three European countries – Cyprus, Finland and Norway – have reached the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) coronavirus alarm threshold.
This designates countries reporting more than 20 cases per 100,000 population over an average of seven days as being at high risk.
The capital of France, Paris, went into a state of “high alert” this week as the number of Covid-19 patients in emergency beds rose to 40 percent.
The enemy has not yet been defeated
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
Along with Marseille, the “City of Light” has closed pubs and restaurants – with similar measures to be imposed across the country.
Meanwhile, the total daily cases in Germany increased by more than 40% overnight, from 2,828 to 4,058.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said: “The numbers show a worrying jump.
“Hardly any other country in Europe has so far handled the crisis as well. But we must not play with what we have achieved. ”
And Italy has also seen a recent spike in cases, with 3,678 reported yesterday, although it is still well below levels seen earlier in the outbreak.
Calling on Italians to be careful to avoid a return to stricter pandemic measures, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: “The enemy has not yet been defeated.”
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The countries most affected in the second wave emerged as the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which now lead the rankings in terms of infections per capita, after the figures for Spain fell.
The Czech Republic, which reported 22,179 cases and 158 deaths last week, had already imposed measures such as limits on the opening hours of bars, public events and the mandatory wearing of a face mask.
And for the first time, residents of Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Rotterdam are invited to cover their faces in shops, while pubs and restaurants are also forced to close at 10 p.m.
Ukraine, meanwhile, recorded a record 5,397 cases in the past 24 hours, against a previous record of 4,753 new cases reported on Wednesday.
Some 93 people have died there in the past 24 hours.
The daily tally of coronavirus infections rose in late September and early October above 4,000, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of October.
In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to unveil his simplified three-tier local lock code next week.
In plans signed at a “gold order” ministerial meeting last night, Level 1 will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a 10pm bar curfew imposed.
Level 2 zones will have the same restrictions plus a ban on mixing households.
Large swathes of the Northwest and Northeast affected by the virus would automatically fall under level 3, in which pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be closed.