(Update 1: Adds latest figures from Italy, detail from the UK)
Madrid Desk, Oct 9 (EFE).- Infection rates in Germany and Portugal are rising to levels not seen since the height of the first wave of the pandemic, health officials in both countries said Friday, as authorities in Italy consider applying more measures, including a curfew and closures of restaurants and cultural venues, after making masks mandatory this week.
Faced with spiraling infections across the continent, the French government’s scientific advisory board has warned that the pandemic is likely to continue until next summer.
New daily infections in Germany rose again on Friday, passing the 4,500 threshold, the highest levels since mid-April, as regional leaders and the federal government mull ways to curb the resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The evolution of the virus in recent weeks has led to fears that the country could be in store for a repeat of the situation at the start of the pandemic in late March and early April, when German health authorities were reporting 6,000 new infections each day.
By June, after most of the country had gone into lockdown for over 6 weeks, those figures had fallen to between 300 and 350 cases, but infections slowly started to creep upwards again, and have done so steadily ever since.
Starting Friday night in the capital city Berlin, as well as in the country’s financial center, Frankfurt, bars and restaurants will be forced to close from 11pm to 6am.
Alcohol sales and gatherings of more than six people will be banned.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the coming days and weeks represent a “decisive moment” as to whether the country will be able to control the pandemic, stem the recent uptick of cases and prevent the situation from “derailing” over the course of the autumn and winter seasons.