Alarm across Europe over surge in coronavirus cases

Alarm across Europe over surge in coronavirus cases

  • Governments eager to avoid new lockdowns face risk of more deaths and public anger

A sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections over the past two weeks has put European governments on high alert as holidaymakers return home to big cities and teachers and pupils prepare for the start of the school year after months of disruption. 

But leaders are eager to avoid reimposing drastic controls on freedom of movement because they want to allow economies to recover from the deepest recession since the second world war. France has opted to control the spread of the virus rather than attempt to eliminate it completely, and French president Emmanuel Macron has said there is no such thing as a “zero risk” society.

Before the latest upsurge, strict national lockdowns in the spring sharply reduced the spread of Covid-19 in Europe. But in Spain in particular the virus is now returning rapidly, with 8,000 new infections reported on Friday alone.