France sees ‘exponential rise’ in coronavirus cases

France began easing its eight-week-long lockdown in May. But some parts of the country – including the capital Paris – remained under tighter controls.

Local authorities have been given powers to enforce lockdown measures, such as closing down bars and restaurants, in areas where cases are surging.

On Friday, masks were made mandatory outdoors in Paris to fight the rising infections.

Spain and Germany have also recorded their highest numbers of daily cases since the spring in recent days, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a resurgence of the disease in Europe.

On Thursday, Hans Kluge, the director general of the WHO’s Europe office, said young people should not be complacent about the virus.

“It may be that the younger people are not necessarily going to die from it, but it’s a tornado with a long tail. It’s a multi-organ disease, so the virus is really attacking the lungs, but also the heart and other organs,” he said.

As winter approaches, young people would also be in closer contact with older people, he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Friday that in the coming months things would become “even more difficult than now”, as people have been able to enjoy life outdoors over the summer.

A protest against Germany’s coronavirus restrictions was due to take place in Berlin on Saturday, despite a consistent rise in cases above 1,000 a day recently.

Spain, among the first European countries to see a second spike of infections, diagnosed 3,829 new cases on Friday. Ahead of the new school year, the government said school children aged six and over must wear masks to class.

Hungary announced on Friday it would close its borders to foreigners from 1 September to curb the spread of coronavirus. The country recorded 132 new infections on Friday, the highest daily number since the peak of the pandemic.

Turkey reported its highest number of deaths in 24 hours since 17 May on Friday. Another 36 people died, pushing the country’s death toll to 6,245. Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases again rose above 1,500, prompting the government to impose restrictions. (Courtesy BBC)