London (CNN)As Europe transitions from summer into fall, countries that claimed to have the coronavirus under control are once again seeing a surge in infections. The United Kingdom, which has the biggest death toll on the continent, reported 12,872 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, more than double the country's most recent seven-day rolling average, according to official figures.
Countries across Europe set grim Covid-19 records as restrictions are reimposed
Although the UK government blamed the spike on a "technical issue" where previously unreported infections from the past week had been added to the total, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday: "This could be a very tough winter for all of us.
"It's gonna continue to be bumpy through to Christmas," Johnson told the BBC's Andrew Marr. "It may even be bumpy beyond," he said. According to the British government, the UK so far has a total of 480,017 recorded Covid-19 cases and 42,317 deaths.
Other countries have been setting grim records: Europe's death rate has been rising, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said Thursday in its weekly report.
In France, the national health agency recorded a daily record on Saturday, with 16,972 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, surpassing last week's record of 16,096. On Thursday, heath minister Olivier Véran warned that Paris is in danger of returning to lockdown as soon as Monday, after the government said the situation was worsening in the capital.
Poland reported 2,367 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, hitting a record high for the third day in a row, according to a series of tweets by the country's health ministry, while Italy reported its highest daily increase since April 24, with 2,844 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that at the current rate of infection, her country could see more than 19,000 cases per day by the end of the year.
Germany reported 2,673 new coronavirus infections on Friday -- the highest number of daily infections since April 18 -- according to the center for disease and control, the Robert-Koch Institute.
Having eased lockdown measures over the summer, many countries are now battling with how to keep cases down while still allowing their citizens some semblance of normality.
Following an emergency meeting with Germany's 16 state premiers on Tuesday, Merkel introduced new coronavirus measures to curb the spread of infections in hotspot areas. In areas that register more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, private parties will have a limit of 25 people, while parties held in public spaces are now limited to 50 people.
Merkel on Wednesday appealed to citizens to "obey the rules" going into winter. "I am sure: life as we know it will return, but now we have to be reasonable," she said.
Meanwhile, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week announced a ban on households mixing indoors for Liverpool and several other cities in northern England following a rapid rise in cases. The new measures also recommend against non-essential travel, amateur sports watching and care home visits except in exceptional circumstances.