Europe Relapses as Covid Hot Spot in Warning Sign for Recovery
(Bloomberg) — Europe has again become an epicenter for the coronavirus, calling into question the region’s efforts to recover from the pandemic.People with protective masks sit in the tram in downtown Zagreb, on November 4, 2021. – Today, Croatia has a record number of people suffering from coronavirus. Croatian authorities are considering measures to take against the spread of the virus. In Croatia, just over 50% of the population has been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine. (Photo by DENIS LOVROVIC / AFP) (Photo by DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Despite an abundance of Covid-19 shots, countries from Germany to Greece have reported record infections in recent days, while Romania and Bulgaria are experiencing horrific levels of fatalities and overwhelmed hospitals.
That’s putting fresh urgency into efforts to vaccinate the masses, whether that means getting first doses into the arms of tens of millions of vaccine holdouts or preparing to offer booster shots to hundreds of millions of others.
While governments are reluctant to reintroduce lockdowns, countries like Latvia have already concluded there is currently little alternative.
Here’s an overview of the pandemic from across Europe after a sobering week:
Germany’s fourth Covid wave is hitting hard, with infections reaching record levels this week and hospitals in some hot spots becoming overwhelmed. The country is now calling on all adults to get booster shots six months after their second doses, with Health Minister Jens Spahn saying that should be “the rule, not the exception.”
With 16 million Germans who are eligible for Covid shots having thus far refused them, authorities have little recourse but to push for greater protection for those willing to roll up their sleeves. The country’s efforts to respond are further complicated by a change in power. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority is fading as Social Democrat Olaf Scholz proceeds with efforts to form a new government.© Bloomberg Renewed Spike
Coronavirus infections in England reached a new high in October, according to large study by Imperial College London. U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the study sends an “important message” about remaining vigilant heading into winter.
Last month, the country kicked off its largest-ever flu shot drive to address concerns over a spike in Covid cases coinciding with a resurgent flu. National Health Service walk-in centers in England have started offering coronavirus boosters for at-risk people without an appointment. Britain’s regulator also became the first in the world to approve Merck & Co.’s Covid-19 antiviral pill.
In Italy, some northern regions, including Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, have seen a fast increase in cases, linked in part to protests by anti-vaccine activists against the introduction of a mandatory pass. The rise has prompted authorities to make a renewed push for people to get shots.
“We are working to extend the booster dose to new age groups starting next week,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Friday at a press conference in Rome. “We still need to catch up on first doses and accelerate on the third ones.”
In France, where government curbs helped keep infections at relatively low levels, cases are again beginning to rise. Officials across the country will reinstitute mask-wearing mandates in schools, while President Emmanuel Macron will take stock of the situation in an address to the nation on Tuesday.
Macron’s policy of requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants, cinemas and other venues helped bolster the immunization campaign and has been widely credited with keeping case counts, hospitalizations and deaths at lower levels than some neighboring countries. The French legislature passed a bill Friday that would keep the vaccine passport system in place as long as the end of July 2022, and officials are now encouraging older people to get booster shots.
Spain is a rare bright spot in Europe. Infections have remained low since September, with hospitalizations continuing to fall markedly.
Over 88% of people 12 and older are completely vaccinated and more than 1 million people have received a booster shot since the government approved the measure in early October.
While Portugal on Thursday reported the highest number of daily cases since Sept. 9, the latest figures are still just a fraction of the January peak, when the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks.
About 86% of the country’s population is now completely vaccinated, among the highest rates in the world.
Ireland’s daily case numbers are at their highest since January. The country held off plans to drop most remaining restrictions last month.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday refused to rule out new limits on activity before the end of the year if the health system comes under renewed pressure.
In Greece, five record highs over the past six days has prompted a fresh round of restrictions, with unvaccinated individuals now needing to show a negative Covid test in order to visit some shops, beauty salons and restaurants.
The measures exempted supermarkets and drug stores, but also churches, which sparked more criticism over the government’s handling of the pandemic.
In Denmark, where more than 75% of the population is fully vaccinated, the number of daily cases has doubled in the last 10 days and hospitalizations have spiked.
Soren Brostrom, head of the country’s health authority, on Thursday urged the government to re-introduce some restrictions, including the use of Covid-19 passports at public events.
Hungary’s slow vaccine campaign and lack of Covid measures has helped fuel one of the world’s fastest growth rates in infections.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now trying to tighten some restrictions, including re-introducing a mask mandate on public transportation. Employers are also allowed to demand vaccine certificates from workers, who can be sent on unpaid leave if they refuse. In a state radio interview on Friday, Orban said further curbs may be introduced later, without providing specifics.
The Czech Republic recorded its worst week of infections since March, when it endured one of the deadliest outbreaks in the world. Hospitalizations are at a six-month high, and fatalities are also rising.
The country is tightening rules to make it harder for unvaccinated people to visit restaurants as well as sporting and cultural events. But the outgoing government is refusing to impose harsher social distancing measures or shut down parts of the economy again.
The Baltic region is reporting some of the world’s highest rates of infections per capita. Estonia is considering more restrictions if the situation deteriorates.
Last month, Latvia became the EU’s first member state to reimpose a four-week lockdown after a surge in cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals. The nation’s parliament passed legislation on Thursday, giving employers a green light to fire unvaccinated workers.
Lithuania is extending a school break to slow the spread of the virus among children.
Romania recorded the world’s highest fatality rate in the past week. A lack of available beds has left people stranded in ambulances or to be treated in hospital hallways. Some patients received oxygen in their cars.
Bulgaria, the EU’s least-vaccinated member, had its deadliest week of the pandemic, with more than 1,000 fatalities. Authorities are tightening measures, while looking to avoid a lockdown ahead of a general election on Nov. 14.
The western Balkans have experienced close to record levels of infections in recent days. Serbia had its deadliest month of the pandemic in October. Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo are close behind.
Croatia on Friday tightened measures after reporting record infections. Public gatherings will be limited to 50 people, except in cases where every attendee has a vaccine pass. The government also mandated inoculations for all public-sector employees from Nov. 15.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P. AdChoices
YOU MAY LIKE
- The No.1 Quest Game of 2021! No Download…Klondike
- Why seniors are fighting over these…Well being review
- This Ingenious Device Can Naturally…Breathing Trainer Pro
MORE FOR YOU
Bangladesh to get 5 naval ships from UK United News of Bangladesh (UNB)France’s bishops kneel in penance for decades of Church abuse AFPIranian detainee’s husband hits out at Boris Johnson’s ‘cold decision’ Evening StandardRussian, Iranian foreign ministers support restoring nuclear deal to… Reuters
- Photos100 photos of the world’s amazing abandoned placesAd Love Exploring
Bulgaria’s GERB party leads ahead of Nov. 14 election- survey ReutersNew infections record as Russia’s COVID-19 wave persists Associated PressAttack on German train hurts manyGerman Federal Police on Saturday said there was a knife attack on a train in the southern German state of Bavaria resulting in several injuries. The train was travelling near Neumarkt between the cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg at the time of the attack. Bild newspaper said three people were injured, two seriously. The attacker has been arreste… dw.comPeace envoy: Bosnia’s disintegration to affect regionBERLIN (Reuters) – If a multi-ethnic Bosnia is pushed towards disintegration, that will inevitably have an impact on other unresolved conflicts in the Western Balkans such as that between Serbia and Kosovo, Bosnia’s peace envoy told Reuters on Saturday. German politician Christian Schmidt, who is international High Representative in Bosnia, said … Reuters
France plans to cancel Sudan debtPARIS (Reuters) – France said on Friday the coup in Sudan had put into question the process that would have seen France cancel some $5 billion debt it was owed by the African country. “It is clear that the strength of the coup of October 25 by the military puts this process into question,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre told re… ReutersMadagascar paying price for cheap European flights, says climate… The GuardianBritain allows early booking of booster shots to speed up rollout ReutersPakistan reshuffles EU, Russia envoys The News InternationalGreta slams Cop26 summit as ‘failure’ dw.comFlash flooding wreaks havoc in Bosnia dw.comFrench Catholic Church recognizes ‘responsibility’ for child sex abuse dw.comTaiwan visit ‘not a provocation,’ says EU delegation dw.comPoland and Czech Republic need until Monday for Turow talks… ReutersMacron’s ex-bodyguard handed jail sentence over May Day assaults ReutersRomania moves the US to yellow COVID list, adds Hungary and Denmark… Romania InsiderPope to revisit Lesbos on trip to Cyprus, Greece AFPZeman opens way to opposition govtPRAGUE (Reuters) – Czech President Milos Zeman expects to appoint opposition leader Petr Fiala as the new prime minister, the president said in his first public remarks since the country’s Oct. 8-9 parliamentary election. Zeman, who was rushed to intensive care at the Prague the Central Military Hospital on Oct. 10 with undisclosed diagnosis, sai… ReutersVatican confirms papal trip to Greece, Cyprus in DecemberVATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will travel to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus on a five-day trip next month, the Vatican confirmed Friday. The pope will visit Larnaca, Cyprus, from Dec. 2-4, before traveling to Greece, with stops in Athens and on the island of Lesbos, from Dec. 4-6. The Vatican released no further details of the trip. The Cyprus leg had already been confirmed by Cypriot officials, who said that the… Associated PressEurope at ‘critical point’ in pandemic The WeekCroatia plans new Covid restrictions Associated PressCovid travel: Bulgaria tightens entry rules for Romanians Romania InsiderEuropean delegation urges more interactions with Taiwan AFPBosnian doctors brace for new wave as virus rages in region Associated Press
Czech govt OKs monthly wage risePRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government has approved a rise in the minimum gross monthly wage by 1,000 crowns to 16,200 crowns ($739) from January, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek told Reuters. The minimum wage is paid to about 150,000 of the country’s four million employees, but it is also used as a benchmark to determine higher wages in a … ReutersUK probe into French trawler tragedy set to release findingsA British coroner will on Friday deliver the conclusions of his inquest into the 2004 sinking of a French trawler in UK waters, which killed five people. The French justice system, after years of investigations that delayed the full British hearing, said in 2016 it was unable to reach a definitive conclusion. AFPIohannis delays nomination of PMRomania’s president Klaus Iohannis will delay the consultations with parliamentary parties for nominating a new prime minister until a new majority is formed in the Parliament. “It is very clear that attempts to form minority governments have not yielded results, and therefore I cannot continue to accept such approaches. In conclusion, I will wait … Romania InsiderGlobal food prices hit fresh 10-year high, UN saysGlobal food prices have hit the highest level in over a decade after rising by more than 30% in the last year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) says. The agency’s figures highlighted the soaring cost of cereals and vegetable oils around the world. Vegetable oil prices hit a record high after rising by almost 10% in Octob… BBC NewsBritain ‘tracked’ China submarinesBritain tracked Chinese submarines from its flagship aircraft carrier and was ready to intercept Chinese jets in the South China Sea if required, officers have revealed. Frigates and helicopters operating with HMS Queen Elizabeth were able to locate the underwater vessels, helping the UK’s biggest warship to steer clear. Chinese warplanes were also… Sky NewsRussia wins latest round of $50-bn Yukos case AFPGerman president praises Norway’s response to terror attacks dw.comWHO: Europe at centre of Covid France 24
Putin hails Belarus amid EU pressure dw.comPortugal’s president calls a snap election on Jan. 30 The IndependentHungary admits to using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware dw.comSerbia eyes 17 billion euro investment in renewable energy in next 20 years ReutersAnti-vaccine protests blamed for COVID-19 outbreak in Italian city The HillCovid cases break records in Europe ReutersChina warns EU over Taiwan The Independent
Europe virus spike: WHO raises alarm The HillUN: Countries failed to adapt for climate damageExtreme weather driven by climate breakdown is hitting the world “with a new ferocity”, the UN has warned, but countries have so far failed to prepare for the widespread damage that is now inevitable even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Developing countries are particularly at risk, but they are unable to muster the cash needed to defend p… The GuardianPoland: Belarusian soldiers threatened to fire at troopsWARSAW, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Belarusian soldiers threatened to open fire on Polish troops just across the border, the Polish Defence Ministry said on Thursday, in what it said was an attempt to escalate a crisis over migrants at their common frontier. Warsaw and the European Union accuse Belarus of deliberately encouraging illegal migrants to enter Po… ReutersRussia sets new virus death recordMOSCOW (AP) — Russia has set another record for daily coronavirus deaths as it struggles through a long surge of infections that has prompted restrictions throughout the country. The national coronavirus task force on Thursday said 1,195 people died of COVID-19 over the past day, exceeding the 1,189 recorded the previous day. Since late September, … Associated PressCzech President Zeman’s condition improves, leaves intensive care unitPRAGUE (Reuters) – Czech President Milos Zeman was moved from an intensive care unit after more than three weeks of treatment to a standard hospital room on Thursday after his condition improved, the Prague Central Military Hospital said. Zeman, 77, was taken to hospital with an unknown condition on Oct. 10, a day after the central European count… ReutersNuclear rift at climate talks Associated PressHungary: Jump in daily Covid cases Reuters