Germany has recorded its largest daily increase in coronavirus cases in more than three months as countries across the region struggle to contain infections.
The latest official figures show an increase of more than 1,200 cases in Germany in the past 24 hours.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said the increase was made, in part, to people returning from vacation.
It came as Germany warned against non-essential travel to parts of Spain.
The Foreign Ministry said it had added a partial travel warning to the Spanish capital Madrid and the Basque region on Tuesday amid growing infections there. Warnings were already set for the regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre.
Germany has recorded more than 9,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
A critical moment ‘for Spain
Spain is facing the worst level of coronavirus infection in Western Europe. She recorded 1,418 new infections in her last Tuesday issue and said there were 675 “active outbreaks” in the country.
Salvador Macip, an expert in health sciences at the Open University of Catalonia, told the AFP news agency that the country was at a “critical moment”.
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“We are right at a point where things can get worse or worse. That means we have to pull all the stops to curb the explosions before they become more serious,” he said.
In total, Spain has recorded more than 326,000 cases – the highest number in Western Europe and the 11th highest in the world.
Mandatory masking in Brussels
Wearing a face mask became mandatory in all public spaces in Brussels on Wednesday amid an increase in cases.
The order is valid for those aged 12 and over. People were previously required to wear masks in crowded spaces and enclosed areas of the Belgian capital, such as shopping malls.
Authorities said the increased rules were introduced due to an increase in infections, with Brussels registering an average of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per day over the past week.
Police checks are being set up to ensure people follow the new rules.
The regulation on wearing masks is one of the strictest that currently exists in Europe.
Belgium has recorded more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,800 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Canceled in Paris, planned marathon
This year’s marathon in Paris has been canceled as France battles an attack on coronavirus cases, organizers said Wednesday.
The marathon was originally scheduled to take place on April 5 but was later postponed to November 15 due to the pandemic.
Organizers said they had “tried everything to keep the event going” but felt “compelled” to remove it.
“There will be great frustration among those who have sacrificed timely training for what became an autumn marathon,” they said.
Organizers are now working on the 2021 marathon.
The announcement came after Paris became the last French city to make face masks mandatory in busy outdoor areas. Face masks were already mandatory nationwide in enclosed public spaces.
A government spokesman on Wednesday said France would gradually adjust police checks to ensure people respected social distance and wore masks where required.
“We are at an information point … We will mobilize policy forces to make checks,” Gabriel Attal told reporters.