Records of cases and deaths from the coronavirus have been smashed in most of Europe in the last 24-48 hours, as experts warn that a second wave has already hit the continent.
Several countries registered their highest-ever daily increases of coronavirus cases, and others looked to halt the disease with partial lockdowns.
“The fall/winter surge continues to unfold in Europe with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing Thursday.
He said the situation was of “great concern,” with daily case numbers and hospital admissions up and the region registering its highest weekly incidence of Covid-19 cases — almost 700,000 — since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Projections from reliable epidemiological models are not optimistic,” warned Kluge. “These models indicate that prolonged relaxing policies could propel — by January 2021 — daily mortality at levels 4 to 5 times higher than what we recorded in April.”
France has announced a record 30,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day. Prime Minister Jean Castex made the revelation on Twitter on Thursday, calling on French citizens to understand the seriousness of the situation.
“All of us have, within us, the possibility, by our behavior, to protect us, to protect others and to slow the circulation of the virus,” he said.
The comments come as a four-week state of emergency was re-introduced in France on Wednesday. From midnight on Saturday, a curfew will come into force in and around Paris, and eight other metropolitan areas.
These include Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, St Etienne and Toulouse.
Rest of Europe
Germany, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands were among the nations to set new individual records as they each counted thousands of new infections of COVID-19.
The daily rise in infections surged past 7,000 for the first time ever in Germany, smashing the previous record set just the day before by some 900 cases, the Robert Koch institute revealed on Friday morning.
Italy, meanwhile, added a further 8,804 cases to its tally, and the UK’s Office for National Statistics estimated there had been around 27,900 cases per day in its own nation at the beginning of October.
It should be noted that testing capacity for COVID-19 has hugely increased across Europe since the first wave of the virus and the daily death rate has not yet reached levels seen in the spring.
Switzerland broke its daily record on Friday with 3,105 new cases — the first time it has broken the 3,000 mark.
More than 7,500 cases were also reported in the Netherlands and 8,000 in Poland on Thursday, where the governments also implemented partial lockdowns.
Although Covid-19 cases and deaths in Greece are low compared with the rest of Europe, the situation is alarming.
A record-breaking 508 cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed in the country on Friday, along with eight deaths in those who had suffered with the virus.
This is the highest number of covid-19 cases recorded in Greece in a one-day period since the start of the pandemic.
Greek authorities have imposed partial lockdowns in the regions of Kozani and Ioannina, where large clusters of active cases have been recorded.