Europe on alert as coronavirus infections surge and France says progress against virus has been erased

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EUROPE is on alert as coronavirus cases are surging sparking fears of a potential second wave.

France has warned the progress in the fight against coronavirus has been “erased”, and meanwhile Britain closed its air bridge to Spain due to a spike in cases.

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Many European nations are seeing an increase in the number of virus cases as governments lift draconian lockdown measures to attempt to reignite their damaged economies.

France recorded 1,130 new infections on Friday as compared to just 81 when lockdown was eased at the end of May.

Spain meanwhile recorded its highest infection figure since May 11 with 2,615 new cases on Thursday, followed by 2,255 on Friday.

Germany has also seen an uptick in cases with 818 on Friday, its highest number since June 17.

Rising figures risk triggering a second wave across Europe, with doctors predicting the virus may come back with a vengeance as temperatures plunge in the Autumn.

Britian’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab has warned more countries could be axed from the UK’s safe travel list at very short notice.

It came as Spain was suddenly removed from the list in response to the number rising number of cases.

Anyone who now travels to Britain from Spain will now face a mandatory two week quarantine – much to the fury of holidaymakers.

Mr Raab said it was “absolutely necessary” for the quarantine to be reimposed to protect Britain from its own spike in cases.

The World Health Organisation reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours.

France lamented the situation as cases surge across the continent, saying there has been a “clear increase” since the lifting of lockdown.

The health ministry said: “We have returned to levels comparable with those at the end of the lockdown period.

“We have thus erased a good part of the progress made during the initial weeks since the lockdown was lifted.

“It’s more essential than ever to reimpose our collective discipline.”

Governments had been keen to lift lockdowns in order to stave off the worst of the already devastating economic impacts from the pandemic.

EU chiefs last week announced a colossal coronavirus stimulus plan worth more than £670billion after four nights of talks.

European nations had been hopeful of reopening after being ravaged by the virus in March and April as the epicenter of the pandemic shifted to South America and the US.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge, Mr Raab said: “As we’ve found with Spain, we can’t give a guarantee.”

He added: “There is an element of uncertainty this summer if people go abroad.

“I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do.”They should follow the advice. I’m going to be staying at home this summer.”

He urged anyone in Spain or considering going to contact their travel insurance provider and find out what to do.

And he stressed that employers should be “flexible” if an employee has to stay home and quarantine for two weeks when they return from a break.

Majorca, Ibiza and Canary Islands are however bidding to be excluded from the two-week quarantine as they hope to continue welcoming back tourists.

Raab’s warning however likely is the final nail in the coffin for anyone hoping to travel abroad this summer, with everyone now facing the threat of a sudden unannounced quarantine.

Back in May, Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control urged EU leaders to prepare for resurgence in coronavirus cases.

She warned that a lack of immunity could mean the second wave could be even worse than the first for Europe.

The disease expert said that only between two per cent and 14 per cent of the populations of European countries had been infected with coronavirus.

Dr Ammon said it was a matter of “when and how big” the second wave would be – and cautioned “the virus is around us”.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair also warned the world will have to “live with the virus” as he called for long-term face mask rules.

He said Covid-19 is not going to be “eliminated” any time soon and warned of a “50/50” chance the virus is going to return with a vengeance in the autumn.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted the UK is taking “every reasonable step” to prepare for a surge in virus cases in the autumn.

Mr Johnson has previously described coronavirus as a “circling shark in the water” as he urged people to take precautions amid fears of a second wave in the UK – with scientists warning it could kill 120,000.

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