Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, forcing countries to impose ever-more social-distancing rules in a bid to avoid a return to full-blown lockdowns.
Spain has declared a state of emergency and enacted a new round of lockdowns countrywide as it battles a resurgence of coronavirus infections.
“The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said during a nationwide address Sunday.
France announced a daily record for coronavirus infections, with confirmed infections reaching over 52,000 on Sunday, compared with nearly 84,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. on Saturday, whose population is around five times bigger.
In Greece, authorities imposed a nightly curfew Saturday in the Athens area and in other regions of the country with high infection rates and made it mandatory to wear face masks indoors and outdoors. The country has so far avoided the worst of the virus, reporting under 30,000 cases and 564 deaths.
The European Union’s disease control agency, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, has joined the World Health Organization to sound the alarm over a new surge of the coronavirus across the continent, as the WHO warned that the infection is rising exponentially.
Researchers around the world are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the infection, which has killed more than 1.1 million globally and sickened more than 42 million.