Across Europe, several cities are facing a return to lockdown after clusters were found in numerous areas, ranging from Northern Europe all the way to the Mediterranean.
Whilst most of the United Kingdom is starting to have a much more improved situation overall, Leicester became the first city to be place in full local lockdown in the UK, with there being an immense spike in cases.
Shops and schools were forced to close once again, whilst pubs and restaurants, which were scheduled to reopen earlier in July just like in the rest of England, did not open in Leicester.
According to the UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, Leicester had a seven-day infection rate of 135 cases per 100,000 people during the latter stages of June, which was “three times higher than the next highest city.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain has ended up with regions being placed in lockdown once again, as Catalonia fights new clusters of COVID-19.
On Wednesday July 15, around 160,000 people in the Spanish region of Catalonia were forced to enter lockdown, just a few weeks after Spain’s nationwide lockdown was lifted.
Across the pandemic, Catalonia has been the second-most inflicted region in Spain after Madrid, with cases in Catalonia reaching 65,400, whilst Madrid had 72,695 cases, as of July 14.
The next highest region is Castilla y León, with just 19,826 cases, significantly less than the two dominant regions.
A judge finally approved the regional government’s lockdown order for residents of the city of Lleida and of six nearby towns on Tuesday July 14, after there were several debates on the matter.
The new lockdown measures in Catalonia mean that people can only leave their homes for essential activities such as working or buying supplies, whilst hotels, restaurants and bars will be forced to close except for food pick-up or delivery.
France has insisted that it will force people to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces, with this measure being put into place after a rise in cases in several areas across the country.
The European Union has recently removed Serbia and Montenegro from its safe travel list for non-essential travel, after a recent spike in cases in the two countries.
The proposal to remove the two countries from the list was put forward by Germany, now holding the EU presidency, with there being a growing number of infections spreading across the countries.
Ever since the start of July, Serbia has experienced a second wave of COVID-19, with the number of infections being consistently high, reporting 386 new cases on July 10 alone, their highest since the worst day of infections back in April 16, when it registered 445 cases.
Montenegro was one of the least affected countries throughout the pandemic, but in recent weeks, there has been a steady rise in cases, with July 11 being the highest number in a day so far, with 145 new cases.
Montenegro reported no new cases throughout May, but has struggled since then, with the most reported daily cases reported before May being 30 cases on April 3, yet that number has been either matched or greater during June and July on 13 occasions.
With the reopening of several airports throughout Europe, this rise in cases will only increase as time goes on, and unless proper measures are taken, such as testing before travelling, then those countries that deemed themselves to be in a good position, will end up suffering from COVID-19 once again, just as several cities and countries are experiencing now.
Whilst the economic burden of the pandemic is tough to control, it is surprising that several countries are refusing to take the precautionary measures needed to reduce the spread of the virus.
Malta reopened its airport to more countries that are deemed by the European Union to be safe for travel on July 15, after initially opening the airport for a limited number of countries on July 1.