Polls show trust in state institutions and public health care is much lower in Eastern Europe than it is in the rest of the continent, which has been blamed for low vaccination rates .
At least one in three people do not trust the healthcare system in Eastern Europe, compared to a European average of 18%, according to the European Commission.
And when it comes to vaccination, the European states with the lowest rates – Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Latvia – are all part of the former communist bloc.
• Romania had the highest per capita death rate in the world this week and the number of new cases has climbed to 19,000, but only 36% of adults are vaccinated, about half the rate in the EU. Mistrust of public health is put at 40%
• The Russian government has announced that workplaces will close from October 30 to November 7, after registering 1,036 deaths and 36,339 new infections on Thursday – the two daily records. Although they quickly produced their Sputnik vaccine earlier in the pandemic, many Russians refused it – only 48 million out of a population of 144 million were fully vaccinated by mid-October.
• In Bulgaria, only one in four adults is fully vaccinated. The number of people admitted to hospital with the virus has increased by 30% in the past month, and hospitals in Sofia have halted non-essential surgeries
• Latvia has been confined again for a month. A study by SKDS found that among the Russian-speaking population of Latvia (which represents about a third of the total population), only 46% are vaccinated, compared to 62% among ethnic Latvians.
• Poland (52% vaccinated) on Wednesday reported more than 5,000 new cases – the highest number since May – prompting the Minister of Health to warn that drastic measures could be necessary. Vaccine uptake is particularly low in conservative areas, leaving the government with additional doses of vaccine it has donated or sold overseas
• Slovakia (41% vaccinated) on Tuesday reported its highest number of daily cases since March 9 and in the Czech Republic (56% vaccinated) the number of new cases exceeded 3,000 for the first time since April
The situation is different in Western Europe, where vaccination rates are generally higher and restrictions are weakened along with the introduction of vaccination cards in some regions.
• In France, new cases jumped to 6,127, up 18% from the previous week, after having already increased by 8% on Wednesday. The country also recorded 37 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 117,389. About two-thirds of people are fully vaccinated.
• Italy (71% vaccinated) reported 36 deaths on Thursday (up from 33 the day before) with 3,794 new infections (up from 3,702)
• Germany reported just over 17,000 new infections on Wednesday compared to 11,903 a week ago, with its 92 similar deaths on the same day last week. About two-thirds of people are fully vaccinated. Health Minister Jens Spahn said the pandemic state of emergency may end on November 25, although some measures are expected to continue
• Portugal started the year with one of the highest infection rates in the world, but with 85% full vaccines, it is making a difference. Masks are still widely worn and trust in state institutions is generally high. As of Wednesday, 927 new cases were reported (up from 828 a week earlier). There were three deaths (up from nine a week earlier)
• Spain reported 2,528 new cases on Wednesday (up from 2,758 a week earlier). There were 31 deaths (compared to 42) and 78% of the population is fully vaccinated
World Health Organization Director of Emergencies Mike Ryan said: “Most of the (COVID-19) restrictions are no longer in place in many countries, and we are seeing this coincide with the winter period in August. during which people move indoors when cold snaps appear.
“The question remains whether or not we will have the same experience as last year with health systems under pressure again. ”