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Warning of new lockdown after surge of cases in France, Germany



Prevention: New French Prime Minister Jean Castex

Prevention: New French Prime Minister Jean Castex

Prevention: New French Prime Minister Jean Castex

Senior ministers in France and Germany both warned of possible new lockdowns yesterday as they feared second waves of Covid-19.

As the UK government reimposed a two-week quarantine on anyone arriving from Spain after a surge in cases there, a 'Daily Telegraph' analysis shows France's rate has jumped 50pc in a week, from six to nine cases per 100,000 of the population.

There were 1,130 new cases on Saturday, double the previous week's rate.

Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Gibraltar, Italy, Monaco and Australia also saw incidence rates rise in the past week to post-lockdown peaks.

Two countries - the Bahamas and Luxembourg - have risen to higher rates per 100,000 than Spain.

Jean Castex, France's prime minister, raised the possibility of a second lockdown as the health minister warned bars may be closed if cases continue to rise.

Mr Castex said a national lockdown could not be ruled out, but said the government's priority was "prevention" and local lockdowns would be imposed in areas where infections surge.

Michael Kretschmer, premier in Germany's state of Saxony, said: "The second wave of coronavirus is already here. It is taking place every day."

Germany's reproduction rate, the key metric which determines how the virus is spreading through the community, rose above 1 to 1.08 on Saturday, up from 0.93 on Thursday.

Health authorities said the new cases could be traced to large celebrations and gatherings and returning travellers.

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Meanwhile, North Korea has declared a state of emergency and imposed lockdown on the city of Kaesong on the border with the South after a person there showed Covid-19 symptoms.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, called it a "critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country", KCNA, the state news agency, reported yesterday.

If the patient, who is now under strict quarantine, is confirmed to have been infected with the virus, he or she would be North Korea's first official coronavirus case.

However, international medical experts remain sceptical about this claim due to the country's long and porous border with China, where the pandemic began.

According to the strictly controlled state media narrative, the suspected case is a "runaway who went to the South three years ago" and who returned illegally on July 19.

KCNA said respiratory secretion and blood tests had shown "uncertain" results and people who had been in contact with the suspected patient and those who had been to Kaesong in the past five days have also been quarantined.

The lockdown was imposed on Friday afternoon, and an emergency meeting of the politburo - a committee of North Korea's most senior leaders - was held on Saturday to tackle "the dangerous situation in Kaesong that may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster".

Elsewhere, Sweden's chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, architect of the country's unorthodox approach to coronavirus, has said his three children had been targeted in death threats he had received.

Dr Tegnell, whose children are grown up, said he had taken a philosophical approach to threats when he started to receive them soon after the pandemic first struck.

However, he said he had to call in the police once his family was mentioned. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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