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If this summer was supposed to offer hope that coronavirus was under control in Europe, spikes in cases across the continent and ensuing travel chaos have given governments a worrying reality check.
From France down to Ukraine, the number of positive tests for COVID-19 is rising sharply as more people seek vacations and after lockdown measures were eased to allow citizens to congregate. Germany reported the most new cases since May, while France said the situation is worsening, particularly in the cities of Paris and Marseille.
The British government added France and the Netherlands to a list of countries from where people must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the U.K. Travel stocks slumped. In Eastern Europe, which had been hit less hard by the pandemic, some countries approached near record number of daily cases.
French Health Agency chief Jerome Salomon said large family reunions, such as weddings, and work places are prevalent places of infection. “One can only be worried as hundreds of new people are hospitalized,” Salomon told France Inter. He urged people to socially distance to avoid the crisis of March and April that “no one wants to go through again.”
It was always going to be a gamble as countries sought to open up their economies in an attempt to mitigate the unfolding financial collapse. Closing businesses and ordering people to stay at home again is something political leaders remain reluctant to do given the dark economic forecast and millions of jobs at risk, particularly in tourism.Spanish Warning
As infections continued to rise in Spain, the main business lobby on Thursday warned that any second lockdown would have catastrophic consequences and urged the government to promote the use of a new app developed by the Economy Ministry to trace cases of Covid-19. New cases in Spain jumped to the highest since at least May 25, when the government changed its methodology for reporting data.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been removing lockdown measures, though he has been concerned not to trigger a second wave of cases from arrivals from abroad. His government already faces an inquiry into its handling of the crisis after Britain recorded Europe’s highest death toll.
Hundreds of thousands of British tourists now fa