Europe nervous as cases rise and lockdowns return

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LONDON – There are growing concerns in Europe over what is considered an alarming increase in coronavirus cases, with the number of new daily infections reaching record levels in some countries.The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned on Wednesday that the 14-day case notification rate (the number of new cases reported) for the EU, the European Economic Area and the UK ” has been on the rise for more than 50 days, with more than half of all EU countries currently experiencing an increase in cases. ”

Spain, which has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe at 614,360, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), is expected to announce targeted lockdowns in places where the virus is spreading rapidly and new movement restrictions on Friday.

In addition, in France, the number of new daily cases reported Wednesday (9,784) was among the highest ever reported in the country. It was just below the all-time high of 10,561 new cases on Saturday. The number of people treated in intensive care units for Covid-19 also increased for the 20th day in a row on Wednesday, Reuters reported, to a three-month high of 803. The total number of cases in France stands at 404 888, according to the French. Ministry of Health.

Speaking on the increase in cases, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the virus was circulating “increasingly quickly in parts of the country,” Reuters reported.

The UK, which has the third highest number of cases in Europe at 380,677 according to JHU data, has seen an alarming increase in cases in various parts of northern England in recent weeks. He has started reintroducing measures to restrict social gatherings, with the number of people allowed to meet now limited to six in England. Stricter measures targeting the northeast of England could be announced on Thursday, the BBC reported.

Italy, which was the epicenter of the first coronavirus outbreak in Europe in February but now has the fourth highest number of reported infections, at 291,442 to date, has also seen the number of cases rise. The Health Ministry said on Wednesday that Italy had registered 1,452 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from 1,229 new cases on Tuesday, although this was in part attributed to a sharp increase in coronavirus testing, reported the ANSA news agency. Nonetheless, the health ministry noted that Italy has recorded the highest number of active cases since June, with 40,532 people currently infected with the coronavirus.

Germany, which has been seen as a poster child for its handling of the first wave of coronavirus cases, having managed to keep its death toll low relative to its number of cases, has seen a slight increase in cases.

The Robert Koch Institute, which is monitoring the outbreak in Germany, said on Wednesday that “the increase in the number of cases reported since mid-July had stabilized at a slightly higher level in the 35 calendar weeks (at from August 24) and 36, but from the calendar. week 37, a slight increase can be observed again. ” He added that more young people have been infected in recent weeks.

So far, the death toll from the rise in infections has been significantly lower than in the spring and early summer when the virus first hit Europe, but the World Organization for the Health (WHO) has warned that this could change as winter approaches.

The increase in the number of reported infections has, in part, been attributed to more sophisticated and active testing regimes in Europe, but the ECDC said on Wednesday that “although increased testing is contributing to better uptake awareness of any ongoing transmission is not the only reason. for the increase in Covid-19 cases. He linked the ramp-up to easing physical distance and other preventative measures.

“As schools reopen and more and more indoor activities are organized, the increase in cases is a reminder that the pandemic is not over,” the ECDC warned, reminding the public to continue the measures of base to prevent the spread of the virus, including hand washing, face masks and self-isolation when unwell.

There are concerns that health systems may be overwhelmed as winter approaches and ECDC noted that as influenza season approaches, the readiness of health systems across Europe is “ vital ”.

“This includes essential services, primary care facilities and hospitals ensuring adequate surge capacity plans in the event of high demand for care of patients with respiratory distress,” he said.

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