France, Germany, Italy and, Spain have all recorded their highest increase in daily coronavirus cases since they lifted lockdown, increasing fears of a second wave in Europe.
Many of Europe’s largest countries have been struggling in recent weeks to keep the number of daily cases under control, with Wednesday being the worst for many nations.
Prime minister Boris Johnson warned last month there were signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus hitting Europe, and the government removed Spain from the UK’s travel quarantine exemption list shortly after.
Officials said the decision to add the three countries to the quarantine list was based on a “significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases.”
The new measures come into force at 4am on Saturday.
! TRAVEL UPDATE !
From 04:00am on Saturday 22 August, if you are returning to England from the following countries you must now self-isolate for 14 days:
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago pic.twitter.com/2nPJ44yGsN
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) August 20, 2020
Currently, all foreign arrivals entering the UK must self-isolate for two weeks, unless they have come from a list of nations that is exempt from restrictions.
France was taken off the list last week, alongside The Netherlands and Malta.
Also on Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Europe was no longer the “epicentre” of the pandemic but did say the Balkans is currently a “hotspot” for coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Spain recorded its highest daily increase of COVID-19 cases since coming out of lockdown, with 3,715 confirmed positive in the past 24 hours.
The country was one of the worst-hit in Europe during the height of the pandemic and after initially getting cases to relatively low numbers it has struggled to keep them under control since reopening.
In the past 24 hours it has suffered 138.7 cases per 100,000 people compared to the UK’s 20.9.
France is facing a similar situation, since lifting lockdown the government has had to act quickly to try and contain an uptick in cases.
Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Toulouse – France’s fourth-largest city – with similar measures implemented in Paris earlier this month.
France recorded 2,500 new cases on Wednesday, the largest daily increase since May, with officials acknowledging the situation was getting worse.
The latest data showed France had 46.8 cases per 100,000 people.
Italy is also suffering from a recent sharp rise in cases, with 642 confirmed on Wednesday, the largest increase since May.
Italy was the first European country to be hit by the pandemic with more than 250,000 infections, peaking at about 6,000 cases a day in March.
Lombardy, the site of the countries original outbreak, is still one of the worst-hit areas and recorded 91 more cases.
However, Italy’s cases per 100,000 remain low at 10.7 and it is not currently thought to be considered for removal from the UK’s travel exemption list.
The government has closed nightclubs and tightened mask-wearing rules in recent days.
Germany, which has been praised for its initial handling of the pandemic due to their low number of deaths and cases also saw a rise on Thursday.
The central European nation recorded 1,707 cases on Wednesday, the highest since late April.
Its cases per 100,000 are low at a relatively low 17.9.
Several other European countries are also suffering from a rise in coronavirus cases, which is being closely watched by the UK government.
The number of cases per 100,000 people in Croatia – which was taken off the exemption list on Thursday – has risen to 41.7 in the past 24 hours.
Austria, which was also taken off the list, is at 30.8 cases per 100,000.
The government’s approach to taking countries off the quarantine exemption list in short spaces of time has come under criticism.
Britons across France were forced to stop their holidays and attempt to scramble home last week before the quarantine rules came into effect.
Airlines have complained the current quarantine rules are hammering their already weakened industry, with the sudden changes in guidelines proving even more damaging.
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