The European Commission is proposing a series of new measures to tackle the pandemic in the EU, saying the new peak in infections on the continent is “alarming”.
Europe is once again emerging as the epicenter of the pandemic in the world. Belgium is a hot spot, and many countries are experiencing record daily infection rates.
Belgium has the highest cumulative number of Covid-19 cases over 14 days per 100,000 citizens, just overtaking the Czech Republic, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
At 1,390.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, it far exceeds France and Spain. A total of 11,038 people have died to date in the pandemic in Belgium.
On Tuesday, 689 people were rushed to hospital with Covid-19, 60 more than the record during the peak in March.
The European Commission has urged the 27 EU governments to do more and in a more coordinated way to tackle the virus.
Brussels said EU governments should coordinate their testing strategies and make greater use of rapid antigenic tests, despite the fact that the global supply of such kits is now tightening.
“The situation is very serious, but we can still slow the spread of the virus if everyone takes (their) responsibility,” Ms. von der Leyen said.
In the Czech Republic, health officials said the daily increase in cases in the country reached a new high of 15,663 on Tuesday – as much as Germany, which has eight times the population.
The country had 284,033 confirmed cases in all, with more than half registered in the past two weeks. So far, 2,547 people have died, with a record 139 deaths on Monday. The Czech government has further tightened regulations, imposing a nationwide curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
In Germany, the number of new infections recorded in one day reached another record. The Robert Koch Institute, the German disease control agency, said 14,964 new cases had been recorded in recent days, bringing the total since the start of the epidemic to 449,275.
Germany has also suffered 27 other Covid-related deaths, bringing its overall death toll to 10,098.
Poland also hit a new record for daily infections, with at least 18,800 cases, and 236 new Covid-related deaths have been recorded.
Italy on Tuesday recorded its highest total in one day in the pandemic – nearly 22,000 new cases of coronavirus – and 221 more deaths.
Demonstrations were organized in some Italian cities against nighttime curfews in some regions. Nationwide restrictions began this week, closing gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theaters. Restaurants must close before dinner time.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 564,778 and the death toll reached 37,700. The regions of northern Lombardy and southern Campania have seen the highest daily workloads in recent days.
Even Sweden, which has avoided a national lockdown and generally imposed much lighter measures than other European countries, is now urging people to avoid malls and stores and stay away from public transport.
Last week, the commission announced it would purchase up to 22 million antigen tests to meet “immediate needs” in EU countries. He is now urging states to buy more under a joint procurement program.
He also said states should have common testing requirements for inbound travelers, including on-arrival testing if testing was not available in the country of departure. He called for coordinated rules on quarantines.
Brussels also urged governments to share more data on epidemics in their countries and the situation in their health facilities.