Second wave PANIC: Germany joins list of countries with ‘rapidly developing pandemic’

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The head of Germany’s federal public health agency is “very concerned” by the surge in transmission rates. Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said: “We are in the middle of a rapidly developing pandemic.

“We have registered 3,611 new cases in the last seven days.

“We have to prevent the virus from again spreading rapidly and uncontrolled.”

He advised members of the public to stay at least 1.5 metres apart, as well as wearing face coverings and maintaining hand hygiene.

He added: “Acceptance of the measures has declined. I want to make clear: we have it in our hands how the pandemic develops.”

The Robert Koch Institute revealed that infections were being recorded following family events and leisure activities, as well as in workplaces.

About 60 percent of new infections were located in the large regions of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The alarm was raised after 47 people who attended a a funeral service near the southwestern town of Schwäbisch Gmünd tested positive for COVID-19, as more may be infected.

Over 100 people attended the ceremony which took place on July 14 at a mosque and a cemetery.

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The person or persons who were infected at the time of the service are yet to be traced.

In France, the government will reevaluate a project to set up a fourth terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport after the pandemic severely hit the aviation sector, transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari has said.

ADP, a state-owned airports firm, had planned to create a new terminal with capacity of 35 to 40million passengers per year.

However, environmentalists and local towns are opposing the move as the drop in flights due to the crisis has created scepticism around its chances to work successfully.

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The project would be expected to cost between €7billion and €9billion.

Speaking about the plans on Europe 1 radio, Mr Djebbari said:“The project to receive 40 million more passengers by 2030 is probably no longer justified as it was planned.”

He added that French airports would still need funding for improvements and would have to ensure that new types of aircraft, such as hydrogen-powered place, can land.

Mr Djebbari said the pandemic had cut transit at French airports to about 40 percent of pre-pandemic rates.

He said: “Traffic is restarting very gradually. We will see in September whether business clients return — that will give an indication for the end of the year and next year.”

In Belgium, a strict curfew has put an end to the country’s social life, as restaurants, bars and nightclubs must close at 11pm, so people have half an hour to get home before the curfew begins.

Bart De Wever, Antwerp’s mayor and the leader of the Flemish nationalists, urged members of the public “to obey the rules and take personal responsibility”.

He said: “The catalyst for the coronavirus lies in recreational life, we’re intervening now.

“Anyone who continues partying after the curfew will be fined.”

He added: “We are intervening in the social aspects of public life.

“We know the outbreaks of infection pretty well. People went to bars and didn’t respect social distancing… outbreaks of contagion started in certain neighbourhoods that fanned out over the city.”

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