COVID-19 trend in Europe: more and more local outbreaks Political news from Europe: analytics, forecasts, comments DW

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In the agglomeration of Brussels with a population of 1.2 million people from Wednesday, August 12, you need to wear a mask – everywhere and always, except for sports. In addition, in Brussels, as in the rest of Belgium, you can meet a maximum of five people, and go shopping – only alone. Thus, Brussels has the strictest restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic among all European capitals. Brussels now, like the Antwerp region in the north, is one of the regions with the highest rates of coronavirus infection in Europe.

EU trend: slow increase in morbidity

However, the number of new infections is still very far from the figures for the first wave of the pandemic in March and April, when severe restrictions were imposed throughout Europe, including on movement. This can be seen from the statistics of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm. This body follows a clear trend in its weekly reports: the level of coronavirus infection in Europe is rising again, but so far the “hot spots” are limited to individual regions. They are located, according to the Center, primarily in Luxembourg, Belgium, in some areas in northeastern Spain, around Lisbon in Portugal, in some regions of Romania and Bulgaria, and in Malta.

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Data from the European Center cover a period of about two weeks earlier. The Robert Koch Institute in Germany, which determines which areas are considered to be at increased risk, also enrolls the Spanish capital, Madrid, as there have been 80 infections per 100,000 population in the past seven days – much more than the institute’s upper limit of 50. cases.

In Luxembourg, almost the entire population was tested for the coronavirus

Another trend set by the European Center is that the number of deaths from COVID-19 is not growing as fast as would be expected with the current increase in the number of patients. This, according to virologists, is primarily due to the fact that most young people are now ill, who usually have a less severe course of the disease.

It is difficult to compare

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control draws particular attention to the fact that it is extremely difficult to compare the situation with a pandemic in different EU countries, as statistics are produced differently in each country. For example, the number of coronavirus tests varies greatly from country to country. Of course, this affects the official total number of diseases, according to the Center.

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For 14 days, Luxembourg was among the leaders in the EU in the number of new infections per 100,000 population – more than 150. But in terms of the number of tests performed, Luxembourg is significantly ahead of all other countries. Meanwhile, the number of new infections began to decline. The tests were performed on more or less all residents of the country with a population of 600 thousand. In Luxembourg, about 10,000 tests per 100,000 population are performed every week. For comparison, in Germany this figure is 600, in Croatia – only 300.

France and Germany warn

In France, the number of new infections daily averages about 1,600 cases. This has prompted many major cities, including Paris, to introduce mandatory mask wearing in many public places. The Prime Minister of France Jean Castex called on the population to be more careful to keep a safe distance from each other, as well as other restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. If they fail to do so, the country faces a second lockdown with severe restrictions on movement, he warned. “No one wants to have that a second time,” Castex said.

The more rules, the less risk of getting sick

The more rules, the less risk of getting sick

In Germany, the daily rates of new coronavirus infections fluctuate, but are on average at 1,000 across the country. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn called the trend “worrying” in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio. He urged the country’s population to be vigilant, as many small outbreaks of the disease have occurred throughout Germany. At the same time, in comparison with other EU countries, everything is not so bad in Germany: over the last 14 days there have been an average of 13 new cases per 100 thousand population. In Romania, for example, this figure is 80, in Belgium and Malta – 60.

Distance and hygiene

In their weekly risk analysis, experts from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control note that the risk of further spread of coronavirus is “moderate” in those countries that continue to rely on social distance and local monitoring of infection chains. Instead, in countries where citizens no longer follow the rules of distance and hygiene, the risk of an escalating epidemic is assessed by the Center’s experts as “high or very high.”

If you look at what is happening in countries on the other side of the EU’s external borders, you can see that the world is still growing exponentially. That is, the wave, unlike the EU, could not be made flatter. The number of new infections is still particularly high in the United States, where 56,000 people are infected daily, and in Brazil, where the figure is 45,000.

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