An overview of the rapid spread of the virus in Europe

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In Germany the corona numbers are rising enormously, but the hotspots of the pandemic are in the neighbouring countries Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands.

First the German Chancellor warned to reduce personal contacts to a minimum and to refrain from travelling, then of all people, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn became infected with the corona virus. The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 disease exceeded the 10,000 mark this Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to this, 10,003 people have died so far in connection with a corona infection. That is 49 more than the day before.

In addition, the health authorities reported 14,714 new cases within one day according to the RKI, more than ever before since the beginning of the pandemic in Germany. However, since there were occasional data gaps in the transmission of infection figures on Thursday, the latest figure may include corresponding late reports. Corona hotspots in North Rhine-Westphalia were among those affected by the data gap.

However, the situation is even more worrying for other European countries.

Netherlands
With an infection rate of 596 persons per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days, the Netherlands is in third place in the corona ranking behind the Czech Republic (1066) and Belgium (932). According to the Dutch Institute of Public Health (RIVM), the number of new infections reached 55,000 cases in the period from October 14 to 20. The week before, the number was 43,000.

In view of the spread of the epidemic, the Dutch government has ordered a partial lockdown since October 14. Pubs, cafés and restaurants were forced to close, no alcohol may be sold after 8 p.m., and in one’s own home one may not receive more than three guests per day. Bus and train should only be used in urgent cases. Further measures are to be discussed on 27 October.

Sweden
For the first time, the Swedish government has imposed stricter restrictions on the fourth largest city, Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Until November 3, the inhabitants of the region are not allowed to organize or participate in festivities due to the increased number of infections. Contact with people outside the household is to be avoided and public transportation is to be stopped. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell explained that he could not rule out that the restrictions might soon be necessary in other regions of the country. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the number of new infections per day rose to over 5,000 cases.

Portugal
In Portugal, the daily number of infections is also rising steeply. At the beginning of the month, on October 5, 734 cases were still registered, on October 22, the number had already reached 3270. Since October 14, the national emergency has been in effect. On October 23, the government imposed additional restrictions for three regions in the north of the country, including the obligation to stay at home. November 2 was declared a national day of mourning to commemorate the more than 2000 deaths. Digital tracking is to be expanded and the use of the smartphone app “Stay Away Covid” will soon be mandatory for everyone.

Belgium
The new infections in Belgium have literally exploded in October. With a 14-day incidence of 932 cases, the country is one of the worst affected regions in Europe. From 1 to 22 October, the daily number of new infections increased more than tenfold from 1300 to 13,200. Belgium’s Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke sees his country “on the brink of a tsunami”. By mid-November, all 2000 intensive care beds in the country could already be occupied. The pandemic has already claimed around 10,000 lives in Belgium.

Czech Republic
The situation in the Czech Republic is even more tense. Since October 5, a national emergency has been in effect in the country with its 10.7 million inhabitants. According to the ECDC, the infection rate rose to 1066 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on 22 October, the highest rate in Europe within 14 days. A total of 208,000 COVID-19 cases have already been counted in the country. Since Thursday almost all stores except grocery stores and pharmacies have had to close. The government ordered that citizens must limit their contacts with other people to the “absolutely necessary time”.

France
In France, new infections are rising from one record high to the next. On Friday (23.10.) more than 42,000 cases were registered, even more than the day before. With now one million COVID-19 infections and 34,500 deaths, France is one of the most severely affected countries. Due to the situation, the government has extended the night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am, which previously only affected Paris and eight other cities, to large parts of the country. The restrictions affect two-thirds of all French people, or around 46 million people.

Spain
As of this week, the number of corona infections in Spain exceeds the million mark. Between October 13 and 22, the number of new infections tripled from 7100 to almost 21,000 cases per day. Nevertheless, the two-week lockdown, originally ordered by the central government against the will of the regional government, ends on October 23 in the Madrid region. However, the city is now considering continuing to seal off heavily affected neighborhoods and imposing a night-time curfew. Travel from Germany to the Canary Islands – in contrast to the Spanish mainland – is once again possible. The travel warning imposed by the German government will be lifted on October 24.

Poland
Poland also fits into the negative trend. Between 19 and 22 October, the daily number of new infections there rose from 7400 to over 12,000. Thanks to a quick lockdown, the country had made it through the first wave well. Now, due to rising case numbers and overburdened hospitals, the government ordered parts of the National Stadium in Warsaw to be converted into a corona hospital. By the end of the week, around 500 beds, including 50 intensive care beds, will be available for COVID-19 patients. Since October 18, there have also been considerable restrictions on contact.

Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark
Germany’s other neighboring countries are also currently recording higher rates of new infections than in Germany. The comparatively lowest is in Denmark, which with a 14-day incidence of 113 cases is only slightly above the German figure. Luxembourg, on the other hand, is one of the hotspots of the pandemic in Europe with an incidence of 507 cases. In Austria, too, the figures are high, with over 2,000 new infections per day and a 14-day incidence of 234 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The situation in Switzerland appears threatening. The Swiss daily newspaper “Südostschweiz” from Chur predicts that “rich and thoroughly organized Switzerland will develop into an international corona hotspot”. According to official figures from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG), 6600 new cases were reported on Thursday. On a weekly average, infections increased by 112 percent.

— Source: dw.com, from Astrid Prange De Oliveira. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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