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Europe, which thought it had tamed the coronavirus, faces the second wave

In the Spanish region of Catalonia, where cases have increased by 40 percent in the past week, authorities have closed bars and restaurants for 15 days, with the exception of take-away food. Stores were told to limit traffic to 30% of capacity.

“We are in an extremely complicated situation,” current regional leader of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, said on Twitter.

In the Navarre region of northern Spain, which has replaced Madrid as the area with the country’s highest official infection rate in recent days, new restrictions came into effect on Tuesday, including the closure of playgrounds and outdoor sports areas. , as well as forcing restaurants to close at 1

0 pm

In the Netherlands, where the number of cases nearly doubled this week to 44,000, the government has announced a limited lockdown. After 22:00 on Wednesdays all bars and restaurants will be closed for at least four weeks. Meetings will be limited to 30 people, while most sporting events will be closed.

In an about-face, Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued “strong advice” for people to wear masks inside public places. Dutch authorities had long claimed that the masks provided a false sense of security, emphasizing other forms of social distancing. Mr. Rutte said his government will try to make them legally mandatory.

The aversion to masks, experts say, could help explain why the Netherlands is suffering such a severe spike, despite being rich and well organized, with one of the best health systems in the world. It also has a lack of testing capabilities, which prompted the Dutch to consider hiring laboratories in Abu Dhabi.

“Despite spending large sums of money, they failed to do these things,” said Sheila Sitalsing, a columnist for the De Volkskrant newspaper. “The problem is with our management, although obviously many ordinary people have also ignored the obvious health rules.”

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