Coronavirus
Europe | Oct 23, 2020

COVID cases rising again in Europe

/ Our Today

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A pedestrian walks by a shop in Wales where the European spike in COVID-19 cases has result in new restrictions on daily life. (Photo: Robert Melen/LNP/Shutterstock)

By Al Edwards

As the dark, dank days of autumn begin to turn to winter, Europe is seeing another rise in COVID-19 cases.

This week alone has seen 800,000 cases reported across the continent and many countries are now contemplating and enforcing lockdown measures.

Governments are insisting that citizens wear a mask and engage in social distancing.

“Measures are tightening up in many countries in Europe, and this is good because they are absolutely necessary. They are appropriate and necessary responses to what the data is telling us: transmission and sources of contamination occur in homes and indoor public places and within communities poorly complying with self-protection measures,” said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe,  Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge.

As of October 21, 2020, there have been 5,171,961 reported cases of COVID-19 infections in the EU/EEA and UK zone with 203,423 deaths according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

However, across all of Europe, the WHO was reporting 8,367,423 confirmed cases as of October 21.

Russia led the way with 1,447,335 confirmed cases followed by Spain with 998,322. Then comes France with 901,346 followed by the UK with 762,546 cases, according to the WHO.

On October 16, there were 159,000 new cases across all of Europe, the highest number of daily cases since the breakout earlier this year. Since June of this year, the WHO is registering around 500 deaths a day in Europe connected to COVID-19.

Belgium has the third-highest recorded coronavirus deaths per 100,000 in the world says John Hopkins University. Over the last seven days, Belgium has recorded 8,000 new daily cases of infection. Italy has now clocked 37,000 deaths, second only to the UK in Europe and last Sunday listed 11,705 new cases of infection in a single day.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appealing to his country  said: “We cannot waste time, we must put in place measures to avoid a generalized lockdown, which could severely compromise the economy. The government is here but everyone has to do their part.

“The most effective measures remain basic precautions; masks, distance and hand hygiene. We must pay attention to situations where we let our guard down – with relatives and friends. In these situations, the maximum precaution is required.”

Ireland went into full lockdown from Thursday while a three-tier system (medium, high, very high) remains in the UK. Daily infections have risen by a third in the UK in a week to 26,688 with 191 deaths.

“Corona is back with full force… the second wave is here.”

leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, Markus Soeder

Across Europe Germany has possibly fared the best recording 395,4432 cases with just 10,018 deaths. The German government has implemented and insisted on a number of control measures particularly social distancing.

The country has now put in place a two-week lockdown edict in Bavaria with wearing a mask in public spaces becoming mandatory in all 16 states. Germany with around 7,700 cases a day has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe.

“Corona is back with full force… the second wave is here,” said the leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, Markus Soeder.

Jane Goodall (Photo: The Jane Goodall Institute)

Earlier this week, in an interview with Euronews, English anthropologist Jane Goodall said humans’ disrespect of nature is partly to blame for the COVID-19 outbreak.

“My mission is to help people understand that we, in part brought it [COVID-19] on ourselves by our disrespect of nature and our disrespect of animals.

“We push animals into closer contact with humans. We hunt them, eat them, traffic them, sell them as exotic pets around the world. We put them in factory farms in terrible close conditions and all those situations can lead to an environment where a pathogen, like a virus, can jump from an animal to a person, where it may cause a new disease like COVID-19,” said Goodall.

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe. (Photo: The Guardian)

So what can Europe expect in the coming weeks and months ahead and how soon can a vaccine come to the rescue?

“It’s going to get tougher. In October, November we are going to see more mortality. It’s a moment where countries don’t want to hear this news, I understand,” said the WHO’s Kluge.

“I hear the whole time the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic. Of course not! We don’t even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not the other.

“The end of the pandemic is the moment that we as a community are going to learn how to live with this pandemic. And it depends on us and that’s a very positive message.”

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