Sep 8, 2020 - World

Spain sets coronavirus record as U.K. and France also see surges

A woman wearing a facemask and wrapped with a flag is seen walking the streets with her pet dog in a stroller during a protest in Pamplona
A woman with her dog in Pamplona, Spain, during a protest Sunday against the Spanish government's actions during the pandemic. Photo: Elsa A Bravo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Spain on Monday surpassed 500,000, after the country confirmed some 26,000 new infections over the weekend — and the U.K. and France are also reporting surges.

Why it matters: Spain is the first country in Western Europe to surpass half a million COVID-19 cases. There is growing concern that Europe is experiencing a second wave of infections, with cases surging over the summer.

Driving the news: As Spanish children prepare to return to school after six months away from classes following coronavirus restrictions, the country has reported 49,716 new novel coronavirus cases in the past week, mostly in Madrid, the Guardian notes.

The U.K. confirmed on Sunday 2,988 new cases — the most since May — and on Monday, the health department reported a further 2,948 infections.

  • England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam said Brits had "relaxed too much" over the summer and they could expect "a bumpy ride over the next few months" unless people started taking the virus seriously again, per the BBC.

France reported Friday a record 8,975 new cases. The previous daily record of 7,578 infections was set on March 31, when the country launched a major lockdown, Reuters notes.

  • Since Friday, 22 schools have closed, as the country reported a further 8,550 additional cases on Saturday and another 7,071 infections Sunday, France 24 reports

What they're saying: "Where case numbers rise initially in the younger parts of the population they do in turn filter through and start to give elevated rates of disease and hospital admissions in the older age groups, and we know that then becomes a serious public health problem," Van-Tam said, addressing the surge in Europe, per the BBC.

  • "The fact that 17- to 21-year-olds are not becoming ill means they are lucky, but they also forget because the disease is not severe for them that they are potent spreaders."
Go deeper