Madrid Desk, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- Authorities in Paris have ordered the closure of all bars in the city and three suburbs amid a wave of Covid-19 infections, while a glitch in the United Kingdom’s reporting of tests meant nearly 16,000 positive cases were missing from the record for a week.
Caseloads are also rising rapidly in Belgium, while European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that she was self-isolating after it was confirmed that she had been in contact with an infected person.
All bars in Paris will be forced to close for two weeks starting Tuesday as officials grapple with a sustained peak of coronavirus infections.
The capital becomes the second city in the country to be put on maximum alert after Marseille last week ordered all restaurants and bars to shut.
“The pandemic is moving too quickly,” Paris police prefect Didier Lallement told a press conference on Monday morning.
“Starting tomorrow, all bars will have to be closed,” he said. “Restaurants will be able to stay open at normal hours, subject to strict compliance with the new health protocols.”
Lallement added that gyms and sport and fitness centers would be closed, although only to adults, as children will still be allowed to use these kinds of facilities.
He also said that indoor shops would only be allowed to welcome one visitor per four square meters.
France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday.
A maximum alert level in France takes effect when the incidence rate of coronavirus infections is greater than 250 people per 100,000 and a third of beds in ICUs are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
“We are all aware that we are entering a new phase,” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said, “because clearly the virus is here long-term, it clashes with our lives and that we must work together” to overcome it.
Almost 16,000 positive Covid test results were missed due to a technical glitch in the UK’s system, delaying tracking of anyone who had contact with them.
Public Health England said 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of the official daily updated figures.
The data was added to the total for Saturday, when 12,872 infections were recorded, and Sunday when the count was 22,061.
All those who tested positive have now been informed of the situation but anyone who had close contact with them were still being traced, according to officials.
Contacts of those infected with the virus should be tracked within 48 hours to prevent the contagion from spreading, according to experts.
The UK has seen rising infection rates in recent weeks with almost 503,000 confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak.
PHE acting CEO Michael Brodie said the technical problem was identified on Friday night while positive test results were being transferred from laboratory systems to published charts and that “further robust measures” have been implemented.