LONDON – The UK on Thursday reintroduced new coronavirus restrictions in parts of northern England amid a rise in cases, which is also occurring in Europe and Asia, sparking fears of a second wave.
“I’m worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll around Europe,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Britain’s Sky News, which like NBC News is owned by Comcast Corp.
The UK reported 846 positive cases on Thursday, the highest number of daily infections since 28 June.
More than 4 million people in Greater Manchester, the largest urban region in the north of England and other areas of the region are once again under tighter measures. They have been ordered not to mix with other households, although they can still go to the pub and work.
“The problem with this virus is that it thrives on the social contact that makes life worth living,” Hancock told Sky. “I fully understand the human impact, but unfortunately that’s how the virus transmits.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday that he plans to reopen high-risk public spaces (such as casinos, theaters and sports venues) on Aug. 1 to be postponed until Aug. 15.
“I said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditioned,” Johnson said at a news conference. “With these numbers growing, our assessment is that we should now press this rupture pedal … in order to keep the virus under control.”
The requirement to wear tapas facing shops will also be extended to other public places such as museums and cinemas.
According to the world of Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases has reached 17.3 million. More than 673,000 people have died.
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany reported 902 new cases on Thursday, an increase from the Robert Koch Institute, which tracks the country’s data, called “concerning.” Another 870 cases were reported on Friday.
At least one of the outbreaks in the country is related to agricultural workers in the Bavarian district of Dingolfing-Landau, forcing a company to quarantine its employees, the institute said.
Meanwhile, Germany has also joined Britain in implementing stricter travel rules on people arriving from parts of Spain.
The UK’s move to require travelers from Spain to quarantine for 14 days was announced last weekend with immediate effect after the country reported several outbreaks, wreaking havoc on the British who were on holiday there.
On Thursday, the Spanish health ministry denounced the biggest daily jump in new cases as the blockade ended with more than 1,000 new infections for the second day in a row.
In comparison, the United States saw an increase of approximately 58,000 confirmed cases in 24 hours between Thursday and Friday, according to the NBC News count.
There have also been spikes in coronavirus cases across Asia.
In Japan, 463 new cases were reported in the capital Tokyo on Friday, in addition to the 367 new cases reported the day before.
The city government is now asking restaurants and bars to reduce opening hours until August in an attempt to limit its circulation. A system of stickers has also been introduced to highlight restaurants and shops that are safe for the public.
“Our lives have changed. Our lifestyle has changed. So we also need to change our behaviors,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said.
Koike warned that if the situation worsens, it may call for a regional state of emergency, although it would not be as restrictive as previous measures taken to keep the economy afloat.
Vietnam’s health ministry recorded its biggest daily increase as cases first appeared in January with 45 new infections confirmed on Friday. It threatens the country’s impressive track record in containing the virus.
No coronavirus deaths have yet been reported in Vietnam, and before the virus re-emerged this week, the country had recorded 100 days without a case of local transmission.
Hong Kong reported 3,151 new cases on Friday. It follows CEO Carrie Lam’s warnings earlier this week that the territory was on the verge of a major outbreak.
The territory was initially praised for including the first two waves of the pandemic. The increase in cases that began earlier this month led to new restrictions, including mandatory masks both indoors and outdoors.
According to the NBC News follower, the United States remains the hardest hit country, with nearly 4.4 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Andy Eckardt, Mai Nishiyama and Reuters contributed.