France and Germany have recorded their highest daily infection rate in months.
France reported 4,771 new coronavirus cases over 24 hours on Thursday, 1,000 more than Wednesday, health authorities said.
The spike in new cases marked the first jump of more than 4,000 in a day since May.
France becoming masked territory
On Wednesday, Toulouse in southern France became the first French city to declare face masks compulsory outdoors across its entire precinct.
Masks are already mandatory on public transport in France as well as indoors in public places.
Many cities, including Paris, have imposed compulsory wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces
On Tuesday, the French government announced that face masks would be required at the workplace from September, even while seated at one’s desk.
Holidaymakers return, children back in school in Germany
The number of Covid-19 cases has jumped significantly in Europe over the summer holidays in July and August.
As the summer break comes to an end, there are fears that the mass movement of people will lead to a further spike in infections.
For example, Germany, which has been praised for containing the coronavirus better than its European neighbours, reported more than 1,700 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours.
This is the country’s highest daily toll since the peak of the pandemic in April.
Much of the rise has been blamed on returning holidaymakers as well as parties and family gatherings.
(Below - illegal rave parties in France have been criticised and evacuated by police for not practising social distancing measures and favouring the spread of the virus during the summer period)
Schools already resumed last week in parts of Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this week there could be no further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.