Coronavirus: Fears of second wave in Europe as Spain and France see cases surge

20 July 2020, 15:05

Spain has limited access to beaches in Barcelona after a surge of new infections
Spain has limited access to beaches in Barcelona after a surge of new infections. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Fears of a second wave of coronavirus are growing in mainland Europe after both Spain and France recorded surges of new infections.

In Spain, 628 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in 24 hours on Friday - the highest number since the state of emergency was brought to an end.

This came after the weekly toll of new cases came in at 5,965, which is more than double the 2,944 recorded a week earlier.

Authorities in Barcelona have also implemented extra measures by limiting the amount of people who can go on the beach to ensure social distancing is followed.

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Meanwhile in France, face coverings are now compulsory in enclosed public spaces after a number out virus outbreaks were reported.

According to the health minister, Oliver Veran, there has been around "400 and 500 active clusters" of COVID-19 detected nationwide.

Northwestern France is particularly effected, with the department of Mayenne listed on high alert.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the change last week to extend compulsory masks from public transport to include shops and all other public enclosed areas.

He said he understood the original date of the change in August "appeared late", therefore reviewing the date to July.

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President Emmanuel Macron has also commented on the concern of local outbreaks, saying last week there had been "some signs" of the virus re-emerging in some places.

He warned that the country "must anticipate and prepare" for a possible spread.

"I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space," he said.

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Both Spain and France are among the worst-affected countries in the world by coronavirus, having recorded more than 200,000 cases each.

In Spain, 28,420 have died with the illness, while in France 30,155 deaths have been recorded.