Madrid Desk, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Several European countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Czech Republic imposed new restrictions on Tuesday to try and contain rising Covid-19 infections.
The European Union readied a fund to alleviate the economic fallout of the crisis while cases continued to increase in Germany and Spain.
The Czech Republic is considering declaring another state of emergency due to its rising infection rate, which is currently the second-worst in Europe.
Health minister Adam Vojtech quit on Monday after criticism for his response to the second wave and was replaced by epidemiologist Roman Prymula.
Prymula said in his first media appearance after taking office that measures can be taken without declaring a state of emergency but that it may be necessary in the coming weeks.
He added that stabilizing the epidemiological situation and flattening the contagion curve is the priority but without decimating the economy.
Officials reported 1,476 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of active infections to 24,817, of which 494 are in hospital.
The country has an average of 200 infections per 100,000 residents, making it the second-worst in the European Union behind Spain.
The government has recommended residents work from home wherever possible as the country struggles to contain a second wave.
Fresh measures also include earlier closing times for pubs, bars and restaurants and plans for fans to return to live sports events have been shelved.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his emergency committee on Tuesday and said in an address to parliament: “If we fail to act together now, we will not only place others at risk but jeopardize our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take.”
The government has raised the level of alert from three to four on a scale of five, meaning transmission is high or rising exponentially.
On Monday, officials recorded 4,368 cases and 11 deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 41,788.
New restrictions have been imposed in several cities and regions where the level of contagion is rising or particularly high.
Rules that were in force in the city of Nice and Lyon have been extended to the surrounding areas, including obligatory masks and capping social meetings at 10 people.
Events with more than 1,000 attendees are also suspended and bars and restaurants have to close by 12:30 pm.
Authorities reported 5,298 cases on Monday, a much lower figure than at the weekend when there was more than 10,000 daily infections which is partly due to delays in data being published due to Sunday closures.