(Update 1: Adds summary of France, Spain details on Italy, UK, removes Germany.)
Madrid Desk, Oct 22 (efe-epa).- The French government has announced plans to extend a nighttime curfew to affect 46 million people and Italy logged a new record number of daily cases on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Europe, Belgian’s foreign minister was admitted to intensive care with Covid-19, Germany saw a spike in cases, the Czech Republic returned to lockdown and Britain increased economic support for businesses and added the Canary Islands to a travel corridor list.
Over half of France’s regions will be placed under a curfew between 9pm and 6am from Friday as the country battles to contain soaring Covid-19 rates. Such measures had already been in place in major cities like Paris.
The government on Thursday added a further 38 departments to the list, meaning the curfew restrictions will affect 46 million inhabitants, roughly the equivalent to the entire population of Spain.
Jean Castex, the prime minister, said: “Let’s speak clearly. The situation is grave.”
He added that the second wave of coronavirus had arrived in France and was spreading fast, as it was in all of Europe.
Olivier Véran, the health minister, said the virus was spreading at an “alarming” rate, although it was progressing more slowly than during the first wave in spring.
The cumulative incidence rate in France back in August was 10 cases per 100,000 people. It is currently around 251 per 100,000.
“Without measures, we would see 50,000 new cases per day within 15 days,” the minister said.
Italian health authorities logged a daily record of 16,079 new coronavirus cases. They also reported 136 deaths in that period. The 24-hour infection tally toppled the previous record of 15,199 detected on Wednesday.
However, testing in Italy has been considerably more prevalent in the second wave of the virus when compared to the peak of the first outbreak between February and April. The health ministry said 170,000 tests had been conducted in the last 24 hours.
The Lazio region, which includes Rome, will be put under a nightly curfew from Friday from midnight until 5 am.
It will be imposed under a raft of new measures including restrictions on secondary schools and universities in a bid to decongest public transport during peak hours.
There are also plans to remodel the hospital network to increase the number of beds for Covid-19 patients.
It came after Lombardy and Campania, the other two regions most affected by the second wave, imposed a night curfew.
Spain reported 20,986 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours a day after it reached the grisly milestone of one million confirmed infections since the pandemic began. The health ministry said just under 8,000 of those were detected on Wednesday.