Madrid Desk, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- Spain’s government on Friday urged local authorities in Madrid to place the entire capital, rather than selected districts, in a form of lockdown to curb spiralling caseloads while the German health minister urged against trips abroad during the coming weeks and months.
Case numbers have also continued to surge in the Netherlands, which broke its own record for new daily infections on Friday, as a second wave that began in late August in the country continued unabated.
Restrictions in place in Madrid since the start of the week to curb a major surge of infections will be extended to a further eight health districts from Monday, city health officials said, ruling out a city-wide lockdown despite pleas from the Spanish Health Ministry.
Madrid accounts for 40 percent of infections nationwide.
Spanish health authorities reported 4,122 new cases reported in the past 24 hours on Friday making the city currently the worst affected in Europe. They also added a further 12,000 cases to the overall caseload since the pandemic began as more test results from previous days were computed.
Over 31,000 people have died from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, some 475 of those occurring in the last seven days.
Restrictions were imposed across 37 health districts in the capital city on Monday, and Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, has urged the city’s authorities to apply those measures to “the whole of Madrid.”
The Dutch government boosted its measures to control the coronavirus to eight more provinces, with the prime minister, Mark Rutte, saying the epidemiological situation in the country was “worrying.”
Health experts are calling for a review of the government’s nationwide strategy following two weeks of record numbers of daily cases.
On Friday, the Netherlands reported 2,782 infections in the last 24 hours, 238 more cases than the previous day.
The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to Intensive Care Units has tripled during the last two weeks.
“The figures look frankly terrible…In short, the situation is very worrisome and will force us to take extra measures,” Rutte told a weekly press conference.
Germany’s health minister urged his compatriots not to travel abroad for holidays during the upcoming autumn and winter seasons to help avoid a rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
“We advise against trips that are not necessary, and holidays abroad are absolutely not necessary,” Jens Spahn told national broadcaster ZDF.
“You can also go on vacation in Germany,” he pointed out, while noting the damage suffered by tour operators, travel agencies “and of course for citizens who have been looking forward to their vacations.”
Germany has twice attributed major spikes in infections to returning holidaymakers from abroad: the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl – known as the Ibiza of the Alps because of its party scene – was linked to a slew of cases at the start of the pandemic, while caseloads spiked again at the end of the summer when Germans returned from vacationing in the Mediterranean, particularly Spain, which is in the midst of a major surge of infections.
The federal government currently has travel warnings for dozens of countries worldwide, 15 EU member states – five of which border Germany – and Switzerland. EFE-EPA