New COVID-19 flareups disrupting summer vacation season across much of Europe

The latest:

  • India overtakes U.K. for 4th highest COVID-19 death toll.
  • New Zealand extends lockdown in largest city for 12 days.
  • Possible COVID-19 exposure on Toronto-to-Halifax flights.
  • Hundreds possibly exposed to the coronavirus at Toronto strip club.
  • Health officials warn of potential ‘fall peak’ in COVID-19 cases in Canada
  • Canadian shipments of ventilators expected to increase in the coming weeks.

New flareups of COVID-19 are disrupting the peak summer vacation season across much of Europe, where authorities in some countries are reimposing restrictions on travellers, closing nightclubs again, banning fireworks displays and expanding mask orders even in chic resort areas.

“Unfortunately, this virus doesn’t play ball,” British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

The surges have spread alarm across Europe, which suffered mightily during the spring but appeared in recent months to have largely tamed the coronavirus in ways that the U.S. — with its vaunted scientific prowess and the extra time to prepare — cannot seem to manage. The continent’s hardest-hit countries, Britain, Italy, France and Spain, have recorded about 140,000 deaths in all.

In addition to clubs and alcohol-fuelled street parties, large family gatherings — usually abounding with hugs and kisses — have been cited as a source of new outbreaks in several European countries.

People wearing protective face masks stroll down a shopping street in Bordeaux, France, on Saturday. (Mehdi Fedouach/AFP via Getty Images)

A new public awareness campaign by Spain’s Canary Islands depicts a family gathering for a grandfather’s birthday, with people taking off masks and embracing. The grandfather ends up in a hospital bed with COVID-19.

In France, thousands of vacationing Britons scrambled to return home Friday to avoid having to self-quarantine for 14 days following Britain’s decision to reimpose restrictions on France because of a resurgence of infections there. Ferries added extra trips back to England, and trains were running out of space.

Some of the toughest new measures were announced in Spain, which has recorded almost 50,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days.

Signs advising people about COVID-19 precautions are pictured as people sunbathe and swim at a beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on Sunday. (Enrique Calvo/Reuters)

Health Minister Salvador Illa, after an emergency meeting with regional leaders, said nightclubs nationwide were being ordered to close. Visits to nursing homes will be limited to one person a day for each resident for only one hour.

“We can’t be undisciplined,” Illa said.

In Italy, also faced with a surge of cases, seaside towns announced new restrictions, including bans on fireworks at beaches. The moves came just ahead of Italy’s biggest summer holiday, Ferragosto, which millions of Italians celebrate at beaches, in the mountains or on trips abroad.

A person is tested for COVID-19 at a hospital in Rome on Friday. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via The Associated Press)

The mayor of Anzio banned all overnight access to the beach, while San Felice Circeo, a popular weekend getaway for Romans, ordered masks worn outdoors. On the chic island of Capri, an order requiring masks outdoors from evening to nearly dawn was expanded by the mayor to the entire day.

In Greece, authorities strongly recommended people wear masks for a week indoors and out in public areas after returning from domestic vacation destinations with a high COVID-19 incidence.

Gatherings of more than nine people were prohibited on two popular Greek resort islands, Paros and Antiparos, and a ban on restaurants, bars and nightclubs operating after midnight was expanded to more parts of the country, including Athens.

A person wearing a face mask stands in front of a shop on the Aegean island of Tinos, Greece, on Saturday. (Thanassis Stavrakis/The Associated Press)

In France, amid growing fears of a second spike of contagion, the head of the country’s national health service said Paris and Marseille have been declared at-risk zones. “The situation is deteriorating from week to week,” the official, Jerome Salomon, said on France Inter radio.

The British government said it was compelled to impose the quarantine requirement on people returning from France in light of a 66 per cent increase in infections in France in the past week. The requirement applied to anyone returning after 4 a.m. on Saturday. The quarantine decision is a big blow to France’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on travellers from Britain.


What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada

As of 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 121,764 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 108,043 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,059.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority is advising of “potential exposures” to COVID-19 on two flights arriving in Halifax from Toronto.

In British Columbia, health officials are urging people to remain vigilant in guarding against the virus this weekend after announcing 84 new coronvirus cases on Friday. It was the first time the province has seen more than 70 daily cases for three days straight since the start of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, health officials in Toronto say about 550 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 at a downtown strip club earlier this month. Toronto Public Health says it is notifying people who visited the Brass Rail Tavern at 701 Yonge St. about a potential exposure.

WATCH | Hundreds possibly exposed to COVID-19 at Toronto strip club:

Toronto Public Health warns 550 people could have been exposed to the coronavirus at the Brass Rail Tavern strip club between Aug. 4 and Aug. 8 after an employee tests positive. 1:48

Federal public health officials say they are bracing for a higher number of COVID-19 infections this fall as restrictions ease and social and economic activity pick up.

“We do expect to see some increases in the number of daily cases as we move forward with reopening,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday.

WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam flags a potential fall surge in cases:

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says her team is striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across the country. 1:06

Here’s what’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 21.6 million. More than 767,000 people have died, while 13.2 million have recovered.

In Asia-Pacific, a man in his 20s became the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Australia, and New Zealand’s government extended a lockdown of its largest city, Auckland, for 12 more days as it tries to stamp out its first domestic outbreak in more than three months.

Meanwhile, India’s death toll overtook Britain’s to become the fourth-highest in the world, and South Korea reported 103 new cases, one of its biggest daily jumps in months.

Community health workers arrive to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms in Mumbai, India, on Saturday. (Rafiq Maqbool/The Associated Press)

In the Americas, Mexico’s number of confirmed cases has risen to 511,369, as health officials say they believe the country’s infections have peaked.

In the U.S., California became the first U.S. state to surpass 600,000 cases on Friday, and the Midwest saw several record one-day rises as some states struggled to contain the pandemic even as a few welcomed students back to school campuses.

Signs for COVID-19 testing face travellers entering the U.S. from Mexico at the San Ysidro pedestrian border in San Diego, Calif., on Friday. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

In Africa, the government and prime minister of Equatorial Guinea tendered their resignation on Friday to President Teodoro Obiang, who said they had not done enough to help the country at a time of crisis, authorities said in a statement.

A report in South Africa said there is a higher risk of Black or mixed-race patients dying of COVID-19 in the country’s hospitals than white patients.

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