• Quote: ‘We are right at a point where things can get better or worse’ – Salvador Macip, expert in health sciences at Catalonia’s Open University.
  • Germany warns against non-essential trips to parts of Spain

By Andrew Atkinson

Spain is facing the worst coronavirus infection rate in Western Europe, recording 1,418 new infections in its latest daily count on August 11 and said there were 675 active outbreaks in the country.

Salvador Macip, an expert in health sciences at Catalonia’s Open University, told AFP news agency the country was at a critical moment: “We are right at a point where things can get better or worse.

“This means we have to pull out all the stops to curb outbreaks – before they become more serious,” he said.

In total, Spain has recorded more than 326,000 cases – the highest number in Western Europe and the 11th highest in the world.

Germany has recorded 1,200 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours (August 11-12) its biggest increase in over three months – with officials in part pointing the finger on people returning from holiday.

The news comes in the wake of Germany warning against non-essential trips to parts of Spain.

France had 2,524 new cases in 24 hours, the highest daily rise since its lockdown was lifted in May.

The German foreign ministry said it had added a partial travel warning to the Spanish capital Madrid and the Basque region on August 11, due to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

Warnings were already in place for the regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra.

Germany recorded over 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began in March.

Wearing a face mask became compulsory in all public areas in Brussels on August 12, following a rise in coronavirus cases.

The order applies to those aged 12 and above. People were previously only required to wear masks in crowded public spaces and enclosed areas of the Belgian capital.

Brussels recorded an average of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per day over the past week. Police are active to ensure protocol is being adhered to. Mask-wearing regulation is one of the strictest in place in Europe.

Belgium has recorded more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,800 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

France battles a spike in coronavirus cases, with wearing of masks compulsory in Paris in outdoor areas where it is deemed busy. Face masks were already compulsory nationwide in enclosed public spaces.

A government spokesman said France would increase police checks to ensure  people were adhering social distancing and wearing masks, where required.

“We’re at a tipping point and going to mobilise polices forces to make checks,” Gabriel Attal told journalists after France recorded a total of 206,696 cases of coronavirus.

On August 12 Greece reported 262 new cases of coronavirus, its highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic. 216 deaths and 6,177 cases in total have been reported.

A curfew for restaurants and bars in some of Greece’s top tourist destinations has been put in place – despite it being the peak of the tourism season and enforced restrictions on arrivals from several EU countries and Balkans nations.