UK infection rate overtakes US, France and Spain and doubles in one week

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Much of Europe is struggling with a second wave, but that of the UK quickly swelled last week (Data: ECDC)

Britain’s per capita infection rate has more than doubled in just one week and is now higher than in France, Spain and the United States.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases per million people, calculated on the basis of a seven-day average, stood at 228 on Saturday, up from 92 on October 3.

The UK rate was roughly at the same level as the European average for months until it started to move away rapidly a week ago.

According to this measure, it is now the third most affected large country in Europe after the Netherlands, with 282 cases, and the Czech Republic with 418.

The figures, based on data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), highlight the country’s struggle to contain recent outbreaks in northern England and parts of Wales.

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They also mark a dramatic change in fortunes from a month ago, when the UK infection rate was less than half that of France and the US and a quarter that of Spain.

Many other major European countries are experiencing a second wave of cases in recent weeks, but few have struck as fast as Britain.

The average number of new cases per capita has more than doubled across the continent since September 10, while in the UK it has more than six-fold.

The percentage of tests coming back positive also appears to be increasing (Photo: PA)

The number is a useful measure of a country’s severity relative to the size of its population, but it depends heavily on the number of people successfully tested in each.

Britain recorded the third highest test rate in Europe last week, according to the ECDC, which may partly explain the recent rise.

Nevertheless, the percentage of tests that came back positive followed a similar trajectory in England compared to other Western countries, according to analysis from Our World in Data and NHS figures from the Financial Times.

Just over 8% of tests came back positive in England, compared with around 9% in Spain and France, 5% in the United States and 4% in Italy on days for which the most recent data were available.

The rapid return of the virus has put pressure on Boris Johnson, who has an approval rating of just 35%, down from 66% on April 13, according to a YouGov poll.

Stricter restrictions in the north-west of England could soon be followed by a wave of local lockdowns in the north (Photo: AFP)

Public health bodies are calling for tighter restrictions to control the spread of the virus, while politicians in the north of the worst-affected areas disagree on whether a new lockdown will be worth the damage to the virus. economy of the region.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a three-tier local lockdown system in England on Monday in the hope that targeted measures will keep both sides in check.

French authorities have responded to the surge in cases by forcing six major cities to close their bars.

Spain’s second heavy wave has started to subside without major new restrictions, although a one-hour morning curfew has been in place for months. A partial lockdown was announced in Madrid on Friday but comes into effect long after cases started to drop again.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, now the Covid hotspot in Western Europe, politicians are still arguing over whether masks should be made mandatory in public, and the government only started advising them last week. use in indoor public places.

Testing also had to be limited to those with serious health problems due to slower-than-expected increases in capacity.

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