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Europe is close! A coronavirus second wave leads governments to reintroduce stricter measures




After the illusion of being able to live a relatively “normal” summer that would restore oxygen to tourism and the leisure sector, folded by the coronavirus epidemic, Europe is witnessing a multiplication of daily cases of contagion. After the threshold of three million infections has been crossed, the new alarm is leading more and more countries to restore rigorous prevention measures for their citizens and to intensify checks on arrivals from abroad.

The dilemma is common to much of the Old continent: how to keep the economy active, save the salvable from the shaky summer season and allow agriculture, which needs a lot of foreign labor, to work without a new wave of the pandemic. The general fear is that we will move from more or less localized outbreaks to the uncontrolled circulation of the virus.

Spain, with almost 1,000 new cases per day, is currently one of the countries most affected by the new coronavirus in the number of infections, so much that it has again to apply the closures in Catalonia. Norway has imposed a 10-day quarantine starting today for those arriving from Spain, while France has asked its citizens to avoid travel to Catalonia. Belgium, which has banned its citizens from going to Huesca and Lleida, has made the use of masks mandatory in very crowd open spaces and has activated a tracking system in bars and restaurants to cope with an increase in cases 89%.

Italy has also decided to impose quarantine on those arriving from Bulgaria and Romania, two Eastern European countries that are experiencing an increase in infections: Bulgaria has exceeded the threshold of 10 thousand cases of Covid-19, after having 270 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, while Romania, one of the most worrying outbreaks in Europe, has registered a record daily increase of 1,284 cases in 24 hours, bringing the total number of positives to 43,000. Austria will also ask visitors from 32 countries for a test of negativity, no more than three days old.

Several countries, including France and the United Kingdom, are taking steps to increase the use of masks in public spaces. The French south-western region of New Aquitaine has set up test centers in the tourist city for all vacationers who request it, with results in 24 hours, in the Arcachon area, one on the beach, and the other at the train station.

The measure is a direct consequence of what the regional authorities consider a worrying evolution of the pandemic, with 13 outbreaks currently active compared to the only three on 10th July. French Health Minister Olivier Vèran has asked laboratories to mobilize to increase the ability to perform tests, and the Government has made the use of the mask mandatory in any enclosed space since Monday following 1,000 new cases of contagion.

Furthermore, starting from yesterday, travellers from 16 countries considered at risk, including the United States and India, will be examined at the airports. Also, concern remains high in the UK, where the National Statistics Office estimates the number of daily infections passed from around 1,700 to 2,800 in the past week. Blackburn, Darwen, Luton, and Leicester recorded new cases. Here containment measures remain in place, while gyms and indoor swimming pools have started to reopen in other cities in England.

For now, after weeks of confusion in government messages, Downing Street has imposed the use of masks in shops, supermarkets, banks, post offices and bus terminals, with fines of up to 100 euros for defaulters.

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