Record case rises as 'second wave' grips continent: COVID-19 Daily Bulletin
Updated 01:54, 12-Sep-2020
Thomas Wintle


- Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban will not impose a blanket closure of schools, saying the goal would be to keep the economy going despite the country posting a record number of daily cases – 718 on Friday.

- The French government is not planning a new, nationwide lockdown, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday, despite recording 9,843 daily cases the previous day, a record amount

- Europe's first pandemic "travel bubble," created in May by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, burst on Friday, as Latvia said everyone arriving from Estonia had to quarantine for 14 days.

- Around one in 1,400 people in the UK had the coronavirus between 30 August and 5 September, according to Britain's Office for National Statistics, while UK daily case numbers jumped from 2,919 to a new post-lockdown high of 3,539 on Friday. One study suggested cases were now doubling every seven days in England. 

- Customers, mainly from Europe and Canada, have bought 1.5 million hemp masks since March from a French firm hoping to reduce plastic waste by using the natural material.

- The Netherlands has recorded 1,270 new confirmed cases, close to previous record highs from early April.

- Switzerland has added Paris and Vienna to its list of areas for quarantine. The measures will come into effect from 14 September.

- Austria is making face masks compulsory in more places including all shops and school corridors and limiting private indoor events to 50 people, with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz saying the situation was "getting serious again."

- Ukraine registered a record daily high of 3,144 new cases on Friday, topping a previous record of 2,836 on 5 September.

- People arriving in England from Hungary and Portugal must once again self-quarantine for 14 days, just one month after the latter was put on England's safe list.

- Greece has reported its highest daily tally of cases since the start of the pandemic, hitting 372 new cases on Thursday.




Isobel Ewing in Budapest

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban has ruled out lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Orban said according to the so-called "national consultation," a kind of referendum intended to gauge public mood, Hungarians don't want to stay home.

"People want Hungary to work, we cannot allow the virus to paralyze the country," he said.

Orban said protecting the elderly was most important, and "for their benefit, hospitals and nursing homes are banned from allowing visitors; and this will be enforced by the police."

He added there would be no general school closures. Instead, infected students and their contacts should be sent home and only if the situation worsens should classes be suspended.

"Parents having to stay home to teach their kids is a situation that should be avoided," he said.

On Thursday, Hungary hit its record for the highest number of active coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic at 5,571, nearly three times the number of active cases at the peak of the first wave of the virus in May.

More than 10,000 tests were conducted in Hungary in the past 24 hours, the second highest number of daily tests since March, with 4.7 percent of the results positive.


Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban will not impose new lockdown measures, saying the goal would be to keep the economy going despite the country hitting record case numbers on Thursday. /John Thys/ Pool / Reuters

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban will not impose new lockdown measures, saying the goal would be to keep the economy going despite the country hitting record case numbers on Thursday. /John Thys/ Pool / Reuters


Lucy Hough in Brussels

Belgium is still at risk of a second wave, similar to those in France and Spain, according to epidemiologist Yves Coppieters from the Universite Libre de Brussels. 

Coppieters said a serious outbreak could occur in as little as 10 days and that Belgian authorities should look abroad to anticipate what might occur closer to home. 

It comes as France set a new daily record of 10,000 new cases in 24 hours. 

Rising figures in Belgium have been blamed on travelers returning from their summer holidays, rather than outbreaks at schools or in the workplace. 


Nicole Johnston in London

Anyone arriving into England from Portugal from Saturday will have to self-quarantine for 14 days, in the latest change to the government's COVID-19 policy. Portugal only spent three weeks on the UK's safe list before the change was made. 

Wales and Scotland had already brought in similar measures. However, quarantine-free travel is still allowed from the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira.

Sweden, a country that followed a policy of so-called "herd-immunity" during the peak of the pandemic, has now been made exempt from quarantine measures in England, Wales and Scotland. However, Hungary has been added to their lists.

On the economic front, the government has changed the law to increase notice periods for rental evictions to six months. This means renters who are given notice won't be forced to move out over winter or Christmas. 


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Rahul Pathak in Madrid

Health experts say Spain's second wave of COVID-19 could already be stabilizing, despite figures released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday showing a record 10,764 cases. 

In a daily news briefing, Spain's chief medical officer Fernando Simon said the peak could be around the corner.

He added the worst-hit areas, including Catalunya, Navarra, the Basque Country and Aragon were all showing "clear signs of a decrease."

However, Madrid continues to be embattled by the virus. In the 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday, the region accounted for 37 percent of all new cases in the country.


Mark Webster in Frankfurt

Germans are more afraid that U.S. President Donald Trump's policies could make the world a more dangerous place than they are about the coronavirus, according to an annual survey of German attitudes. 

More than half of those polled put Trump at the top of their list of fears, with COVID-19 coming in 17th. Only one-third of those polled said they were concerned that either they or someone they knew would contract the virus.

Yet it comes as virologists in Germany warn the number of new infections is again on the rise, up from between 300 to 500 a day in July to more than 1,300, even reaching highs of 2,000. 

One leading German epidemiologist has warned that the pandemic could get out of control again this winter.


Ross Cullen in Paris

France has set another unwanted record, recording almost 10,000 cases in 24 hours on Thursday – the highest daily number of infections since the start of the outbreak. 

The Defence Council of top ministers meets on Friday in Paris to lay out the plan for how to deal with the surge in cases across the country. President Macron has urged the cabinet "to be as transparent and clear as possible," arguing that the government needs to be "demanding and realistic, but without ceding to panic."

Scientific advisers to the government have recommended new measures and the government has not ruled out any restrictions. The city of Nice has temporarily suspended visits to care homes as the the number of infections climb across the country.



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Source(s): AFP ,Reuters