New coronavirus infections hit record highs in at least nine European countries Thursday — as some nations announced tougher restrictions to stop the disease from spreading, according to reports.
The nine hard-hit nations — including Italy, France and Germany — saw the highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic began, according to CNN and other outlets.
“The general situation has become very serious,” Lothar Wieler, the president of Germany’s RKI public health institute said at a press conference in Berlin. “We have to expect that the virus will continue to spread rapidly.”
Overall, France reported 41,622 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday evening, and Italy recorded 15,199. Spain, which this week became the first European nation to hit 1 million cases, recorded 20,986.
Meanwhile, Germany reported 11,287 new cases while the Netherlands saw 9,283 and Portugal recorded 3,270. Poland also broke its daily infection record with 12,100 new cases, along with the Czech Republic, which reported 14,968 and Greece, which reported 882.
In response to the rising case load, Ireland, Greece and the Czech Republic set in place stricter curfew and mask-wearing rules — but stopped short of implementing lockdowns, according to Bloomberg News.
Greece set a new curfew from 12:30 a.m to 5 a.m. in all areas deemed to be at-risk, including Athens, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Thursday.
In Ireland, officials installed a midnight curfew and closed all non-essential businesses for six weeks, officials said.
Medical staff tend to a patient at a level intensive care unit for patients infected with coronavirus at the University Hospital of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France.AFP via Getty Images
Spanish authorities are also considering a curfew in its capital city, Madrid.
France imposed a curfew on Paris and eight other cities last week.
More than 41,500,000 COVID-19 cases have now been recorded across the country since the virus emerged late last year, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1,135,000 people have died, though fatality rates in the US have declined sharply.
With Post Wires