Coronavirus crisis: Europe on alert as infections surge – fears progress has been erased

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Many European countries are seeing a rise of new infections of the deadly disease as governments started to lift lockdown restrictions to help rebuild the economy. But the continent is on alert as the figures soar.

Spain has seen a huge increase in new cases with 2,615 reported on Thursday followed by 2,255 on Friday.

The UK has since closed its air bridge with the country and anyone entering Britain from Spain must now quarantine for 14 days in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

France has also recorded a worrying 1,130 new infections on Friday compared to just 81 when lockdown was eased at the end of May.

The health ministry said: “We have returned to levels comparable with those at the end of the lockdown period.

“We have thus erased a good part of the progress made during the initial weeks since lockdown was lifted.

“It’s more essential than ever to reimpose our collective discipline.”

Germany also witnessed a rise in numbers with 818, marking the highest number since June 17.

On a global scale, the World Health Organisation reported a record increase of cases with the total rising by 284,196 in just 24 hours.

This news comes hours before Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged people to follow the Government advice and not travel abroad unless it is essential.

He told Sky News: “As we’ve found with Spain, we can’t give a guarantee.

“There is an element of uncertainty this summer if people go abroad.

“I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do.

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“They should follow the advice. I’m going to be staying at home this summer.”

The UK has the highest death rate across Europe after surpassing 45,000 but experts claim Spain’s figure could be much higher.

According to an investigation by El Pais newspaper, Spain’s figure of 28,432 could be 60 percent higher.

The country’s official death toll includes only people who were formally diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, not suspected cases who were never tested.

If counting regional statistics of all suspected and confirmed fatalities, the investigation found the figure could be up to 44,868.

This would make Spain’s outbreak the second deadliest in Europe after the UK.

The health ministry said it followed all international protocols in accounting for COVID-19 deaths and stressed that the higher number of deaths was reflected in other official indicators.

“There is evidence that in all pandemics there is an increase in indirect deaths,” it added.

“This has also happened with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Travel firms have now begun cancelling trips to Spain following the government’s quarantine announcement.

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