France was preparing Thursday for tighter coronavirus restrictions in several major cities, two days after a maximum alert protocol went into force in Paris that included bar closures.
The number of daily coronavirus infections came in at 18,746 in France on Wednesday, health authorities reported, a record since widespread testing began.
The rate of positive test results rose to 9.1 percent from around 4.5 percent a month ago.
“The virus has been spreading faster in recent weeks,” President Emmanuel Macron said late Wednesday.
“In places where it is spreading too fast, especially where it is spreading among the elderly who are most at risk, and where there are more and more intensive care beds being occupied, we must proceed to more restrictions,” he said on French TV.
Madrid court nixes partial lockdown
Madrid’s top regional court on Thursday rejected a partial lockdown imposed at the weekend on the capital and nine nearby towns to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus infections.
A court statement said it “had denied the ratification (of the measures) on grounds they impacted on the rights and fundamental freedoms” of the 4.5 million residents affected by the closure, which went into force late Friday night.
Under the restrictions, residents are not allowed to leave the city limits except for work, school or medical reasons as the region battles a soaring infection rate of well over 700 cases per 100,000 people, compared with just 300 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain – in itself the highest rate in the European Union.
Without the measures being ratified by the court, police have no legal grounds on which to issue fines for non-compliance – which they have not done until now, awaiting the court’s decision.
‘Worrying jump’ in cases in Germany
Germany is experiencing a “worrying jump” in coronavirus cases, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday, as the number of new daily infections soared past 4,000 for the first time since early April.
Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control, warned the country could see an uncontrollable spread of the virus.
“The numbers are showing a worrying jump,” Spahn told a press conference in Berlin, urging Germans not to drop their guard against the deadly virus.
“Barely any other country in Europe has managed the crisis as well so far,” he said. “But we must not gamble away what we’ve achieved.”