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Infections surge in France as Spain cracks down on nightlife

Health authorities fear France is going backwards in its battle against the pandemic.

Image: PA

France’s coronavirus infection has rate crept higher as health authorities warn the country is going backwards in its battle against the pandemic.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain has cracked down on nightlife, while German authorities were confident enough to send a cruise ship out to sea with 1,200 passengers for a weekend test of how the industry can begin to resume.

French health authorities said the closely-watched “R” infection gauge is now up to 1.3, suggesting that infected people are contaminating 1.3 other people on average.

France’s daily new infections are also rising – up to 1,130 on Friday.

Covid-19 has already killed at least 30,195 people in the country and infection indicators now resemble those seen in May, when France was coming out of its strict two-month lockdown.

“We have thus erased much of the progress that we’d achieved in the first weeks of lockdown-easing,” health authorities said, adding that the French appear to be letting down their guard during their summer holidays, with those testing positive making less of an effort to self-isolate.

They appealed for a return to “collective discipline”, asking people to work from home and get tested if they have any suspicions of infection.

In Spain, Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.

The wealthy north-east region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area and other towns around Lleida that have become contagion hot zones.

Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the last two days as authorities warn that the country that lost 28,000 lives before getting its outbreak under control could be facing the start of a second major outbreak.

Despite the concerns, some European countries continued to gradually reopen.

A German cruise ship set sail for the first time since the industry was shut down.

2.54729438 The Tui cruise ship Mein Schiff 2 departs from Hamburg.

Mein Schiff 2 sailed from the port of Hamburg towards Norway on Friday night, and passengers will spend the weekend at sea with no land stops before returning to Germany on Monday.

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The ship had only 1,200 people on board compared with its normal 2,900 capacity.

But with many other cruise companies now looking toward trips in 2021, interest is sure to be high in how Germany, which has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, can kick off the struggling cruise industry.

In other parts of the world, the pandemic appears to have the upper hand.

India, which has the world’s third-highest infections behind the United States and Brazil, reported its death toll rose by 740 to 30,601.

It saw a surge of more than 49,000 new cases, raising its total to over 1.2 million. The home ministry issued an advisory calling for Independence Day celebrations on August 15 to avoid large gatherings.

South Africa, Africa’s hardest-hit country, reported more than 13,000 new cases, raising its total to more than 408,000.

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