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Europe braces itself for a second wave of the COVID pandemic as winter approaches

Madrid: Parts of the Spanish capital Madrid will be put under lockdown restrictions to curb a rise in COVID-19, authorities announced on Saturday.

The new round of lockdown will come into effect from Monday, affecting more than 850,000 people in the Madrid region who will face restrictions on travel and sizes of groups in social gatherings, the BBC reported.

Spain has had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe in the first phase of the pandemic, and Madrid once the worst-hit region in the country. Spain now has 625,651 cases, and rates of infection in the Madrid region are more than double the national average, the Spanish government said.

As winter approaches many countries in the northern hemisphere are now bracing themselves for a second wave of the pandemic.

Apart from Spain, the other European country France has been seeing a rise in the number of COVID cases and on Friday it registered 13,215 new cases, its highest single day spike – a jump of nearly 3,000 more cases in 24 hours. They included Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who said he had tested positive but was showing no symptoms. Several cities, including Marseille and Nice, are bringing in tighter restrictions.

The UK recorded 4,322 new cases and 27 deaths on Friday – its highest number of cases since May 8, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that a second wave was now “inevitable”. Large parts of the north of England are now subject to great lockdown measures.

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