SPAIN appears to be bringing to heel its Covid-19 second wave without closing bars or imposing harsh local lockdowns like those being planned in the UK.
The country saw a steep rise in cases after it began reopening non-essential businesses in mid-May and had the highest infection rate in Europe throughout August and September.
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Although still one of the worst hit country, the average trend has now started to drop.
Infections are falling to an average of 9,500 this week from 11,200 two weeks ago.
This is despite Spanish authorities keeping bars and restaurants open and largely avoiding local lockdowns.
The exact reason for the fall is unclear, but the figures perhaps give hope to Britain, where some parts face shuttering bars and restaurants.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has locked down pubs in central Scotland from tomorrow for at least two weeks to tackle a coronavirus surge.
And today it emerged that Boris Johnson is poised to order pubs and restaurants to shut in the huge swathes of North of England and parts of the Midlands next week.
City such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham are set to be affected by the lockdown.
Hospitality chiefs, meanwhile, have warned this could spell the end to the many much-loved night time spots and restaurants.
But Spain has avoided doing this, with an attempt to impose a strict lockdown on the capital Madrid thrown out of the courts today after city leaders said it would destroy the economy.
Measures adopted by Spain include 1am curfews on bars and restaurants, mandatory table service, strict social distancing, face masks both indoors and outdoors.
Capacity limits have been imposed in crowded public places such as beaches.
Europe’s leaders will be keeping a close eye on Spain's dropping totals as they try to curb infections whilst avoiding economically damaging lockdowns of the kind seen earlier this year.
All but three European countries — Cyprus, Finland and Norway — have reached the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) coronavirus alarm threshold.
This designates countries reporting more than 20 cases per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average as being at high risk.
France’s capital Paris has this week moved into a state of "maximum alert" as the number of Covid-19 patients in emergency beds jumped to 40 per cent.
The enemy hasn’t been defeated yet
Along with Marseille, the "City of Light" has shut pubs and restaurants — with similar measures set to be imposed across the country.
Meanwhile, Germany’s total daily case total rose by more than 40 per cent overnight, from 2,828 to 4,058.
Health minister Jens Spahn, has said: "The numbers are showing a worrying jump.
"Barely any other country in Europe has managed the crisis as well so far. But we must not gamble away what we've achieved."
And Italy has also seen a recent uptick in cases, with 3,678 reported yesterday, though is still well below levels seen earlier in the outbreak.
Calling on Italians to be careful as to avoid a return to stricter pandemic measures, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: "The enemy hasn’t been defeated yet."
The most affected nations among the second wave have emerged as the Czech Republic and Netherlands, which now top the table in terms of infections per head of population, following Spain's falling numbers.
The Czech Republic, which has reported 22,179 cases and 158 deaths in the past week, had already imposed measures such as limits on bar opening hours, public events and mandatory face-mask wearing.
And for the first time people in Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Rotterdam are being advised to wear face coverings in shops, while pubs and restaurants are also being forced to close at 10pm.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has registered a record 5,397 cases in the past 24 hours, up from a previous record of 4,753 new cases reported on Wednesday.
Some 93 people have perished there in the past 24 hours.
The daily tally of coronavirus infections spiked in late September and early October above 4,000, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of October.
In England, PM Boris Johnson intends to unveil his simplified three-tier local lockdown code next week.
In plans signed off at a ministerial “gold command” meeting last night, Tier 1 will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a pub curfew of 10pm enforced.
Areas in Tier 2 will have the same restrictions plus a ban on households mixing.
Vast swathes of the virus-hit North West and North East would automatically fall under Tier 3, in which pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be shut.
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