Countries that managed to contain infection rates through spring lockdowns and started easing measures are closely monitoring the virus’s return, as Germany, France and the Czech Republic reported record numbers of cases in the past two days.
“The increase in the fall and winter seasons continues to emerge in Europe, with massive increases in daily cases and identical percentage increases in daily deaths,” Hans Kluge, Director of the World Health Organization for Europe, said in a press briefing Thursday.
He said that the situation is “very worrying”, With numbers of daily cases rising and hospital admissions, the region records its highest weekly rate of Covid-19 cases – nearly 700,000 – since the start of the pandemic.
“The predictions from reliable epidemiological models are not optimistic,” Kluge warned. “These models suggest that prolonged relaxation policies could push – by January 2021 – the daily death rate four to five times higher than what we recorded in April.”
He said simple measures such as social distancing and ensuring more residents wear masks could save up to 281,000 people in Europe by February 1. He added that less than 60% of citizens across the conglomerate were systematically wearing masks, while 95% compliance was required.
The boom in Europe is outpacing the United States
The number of new cases in Europe in the five worst-affected countries – which collectively have a similar population to the United States – was nearly 42% more than the increase in the United States in the week through October 13.
The average new cases in JHU for seven days in the United States were 49,542 on October 13, compared to an average daily high of 70,158 in France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands.
The population of the five European countries is 343 million. The population of the United States is 331 million.
France set a new record for coronavirus cases daily, Thursday, with 30,621 new confirmed cases within 24 hours, according to data released by the French Health Authority. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in France to 809,684. 88 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 33,125.
This comes as Paris and nine other French cities prepare for a night-time curfew that begins at midnight local time on Friday.
The curfew will be in effect from 9 pm until 6 am every night for at least four weeks.
On Thursday, a series of searches took place at the homes and offices of French Health Minister Olivier Ferrand, Director of the country’s National Health Agency Jerome Salomon, and the homes of former members of the government, including former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
The research came as part of a judicial investigation into the management of the Coronavirus crisis in France, a spokesman for Senior Prosecutor Francois Mullins told CNN. The investigation into the allegations of “failure to combat a disaster” has been opened after a number of official complaints by non-profit groups and a group of doctors.
According to the attorney general’s office, inspections have also taken place in the homes or offices of former Health Minister Agnes Buzyn and former government spokesperson Sebeth Ndiaye, who left the French government in a cabinet reshuffle in July.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under pressure after the introduction of a three-level alert system for Covid in England, with emphasis on domestic measures, despite calls by the opposition for a two-week national lockdown, “circuit breaker”.
Leaders in Greater Manchester have spoken out against plans to place the district in a “very high” Tier 3 category.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said he and other areas in the northwest “are unanimously opposed to government plans for Level 3 closures”.
He said that the plans were “flawed and unfair” and that the government “is asking us to bet on the jobs of our residents, their homes, their businesses and a large part of our economy on a strategy that their experts tell them may not work.”
The Office for National Statistics estimated that one out of every 240 people in England contracted the virus in the week from September 25 to October 1, and that the numbers of infected people were doubling every seven to 12 days, according to a press release issued by the British Ministry of Health. .
Shattered records across Europe
Other European countries, such as Poland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, have also seen sharp increases in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks. Poland reported a rise of 8,099 new cases of infection on Thursday – a 24% increase from the record 6,526 cases on Wednesday. According to CNN’s analysis of Belgium figures, the current rate rose from 3,433 new cases per day to 5,421 cases between October 4 and October 11.
The Czech Republic, which managed to effectively contain the virus early in the epidemic, broke its record for new infections for the second consecutive day on Friday with 9,721 cases in 24 hours. It now has a higher infection rate during its 14-day notice period than any other European member state, reporting 610 cases per 100,000 people, according to figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Germany also broke its record for new infections with the Coronavirus for the second day in a row on Friday, according to the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute. Authorities reported 7,334 new infections in 24 hours, nearly 700 more than the previous day’s record of 6,638.
Germany recorded 24 new deaths, bringing the total number to 9,734 since the start of the epidemic. The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care is also rising. Official data on Thursday showed that 655 patients are in intensive care units with 329 ventilation. Just a week ago there were 487 people in the ICU.
Italy recorded 8,804 new infections Thursday – the highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the epidemic, according to Health Ministry figures.
The governor of Campania, Italy, announced, Thursday, that schools in the Italian region of Campania will be available online for only two weeks, starting Friday.
Simon Cullen, Eva Tabiro, Martin Guillando, Pierre Pearin and Gail Fournier of CNN contributed to the report.