LONDON – The United Kingdom on Thursday re-enforced new coronovirus restrictions in parts of northern England, which are also taking place across Europe and Asia for fear of a second wave.
“I’m worried about a second wave. I think you can start a second wave across Europe, “UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told British broadcaster Sky News, like NBC News is owned by Comcast Corp.
The UK reported 846 new positive cases on Thursday – the highest number of daily infections since 28 June.
Greater Manchester, the largest urban area in northern England, has more than 4 million people and other parts of the region once again under tight lockout measures. They have not been ordered to mingle with other families, although they can still go to the pub and work.
“The problem with this virus is that it thrives on social interaction that makes life worth living,” Hancock told Sky. “I fully understand the human impact of this but unfortunately how this virus passes.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that plans to reopen high-risk public spaces – such as casinos, theaters and sports venues – would be postponed until at least 15 August.
“I have said that our plan is to reopen society and the economy is conditional,” Johnson said at a press conference. “With those numbers creeping in, our assessment is that we must now break the pedal … to squeeze the virus under control.”
He said that the need to cover the face in shops would also be increased in other public places such as museums and theaters.
Worldwide, the number of coronovirus cases is 17.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 673,000 people have died.
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany reported 902 new cases on Thursday – the growth of the Robert Koch Institute, which is tracking the country’s data, known as “related”. Another 870 cases were reported on Friday.
The institute said that at least one outbreak in the country is associated with agricultural workers in the Bavarian district of Dingolfing-Landau.
Meanwhile, Germany has also joined Britain in enforcing strict travel rules on people coming from parts of Spain.
Britain’s move to require travelers from Spain to Spain for 14 days was announced with immediate effect last weekend, when the country reported a number of outbreaks that caused Britons to leave.
On Thursday, Spain’s Ministry of Health reported the largest daily jump in new cases as the lockdown ended with more than 1,000 new infections for the second consecutive day.
According to NBC News calculations, the United States saw an increase of 58,000 confirmed cases in 24 hours between Thursday and Friday.
Spikes have also occurred in coronovirus cases throughout Asia.
In Japan, 463 new cases were reported in the capital Tokyo on Friday, with 367 new cases compared to the previous day.
The city government is now asking to shorten its opening hours in an effort to limit restaurants and bars to August. A system of stickers has also been introduced to highlight restaurants and shops that are safe for the public to enter.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said, “Our lives have changed. Our lifestyles have changed. So our behavior has to change as well.”
Koike warned that if the situation worsens, she could call a regional state of emergency, although it would not be as restrictive as previous measures to maintain the economy.
Vietnam’s Health Ministry on Friday reported its highest daily increase since the first reported cases, with 45 new infections confirmed. This is a threat to the impressive track record of a virus-rich country.
No coronavirus has yet died in Vietnam, and before the virus recurred this week, the country recorded 100 days without a locally transmitted case.
Hong Kong reported another 3,151 new cases on Friday. This follows the warnings of Chief Executive Carrie Lam earlier this week that the region was on the verge of a significant outbreak.
The region was initially praised because of the first two waves of the epidemic. The increase in cases that began earlier this month prompted new restrictions, including mandatory masks both indoors and outdoors.
According to the tracker of NBC News, the United States remains the most affected country with around 4.4 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Andy Eckardt, My Nishiyama and Reuters has contributed.