On the day that Portugal reaches a record number of hospitalized patients and returns to April numbers with regard to deaths and new cases, signs of concern multiply in Europe about the spread of covid-19.
The European Union’s disease control agency said that all EU countries, except Cyprus, Estonia, Finland and Greece, now fall into a category of “serious concern”, such as the United Kingdom.
“The continued increase in covid-19 infections poses a major threat to public health, with most countries having a highly worrying epidemiological situation”, said Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
While more restrictive measures are in place across the continent and the British Isles, clinical officials are pessimistic. “It’s a trench war”, with the difference that “it’s not bombs, it’s a virus”. “It is the virus that commands, it is not us, neither politicians nor scientists”, said Benoît Misset, head of the intensive care unit at the University Hospital in Liège said.
“We are losing. We are crushed. We are bitter,” he said. Misset told AFP that several of the colleagues have to work despite being infected with the virus, although asymptomatic.
Brussels and Wallonia, the French-speaking region of which Liège is a part, are now the epicenters of the crisis in Belgium, where former Prime Minister and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, is in intensive care.
In France, health authorities have reported that the country has reached more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach that number, after having recorded an additional 42000 new cases in the last 24 hours.
The head of the hospital center in Paris and the Île-de-France region warned that the second wave could be more serious than the first. “There are many infectious people on the streets without knowing it and without anyone else knowing it”, these Martin Hirsch.
French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to a hospital near Paris, recalled that the virus will persist for a few more months. “When I listen to scientists, I see that the projections are for, at best, until next summer,” he said.
An overnight curfew comes into effect in almost the whole of France at midnight, reaching about two out of three citizens. The curfew from 9 pm to 6 am, which had already been imposed in Paris, its suburbs, and major cities, will now be extended to 38 other regions, and to Polynesia.
Macron said it was too early to say whether France could move into new total or partial feedlots
On Wednesday, Spain officially became the first EU country, and the sixth in the world, to surpass one million confirmed infections by covid-19. Two days later, in a televised speech, the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the “real number” of cases was actually more than three million.
Several regional authorities have announced new measures, with the Madrid region banning domestic meetings from midnight to 6 am and halving capacity in bars and restaurants.
The Netherlands, one of the European countries hardest hit by the second wave, with a record new number of daily cases since mid-September (now reaching 10,000 every 24 hours), will begin transferring patients from covid-19 to Germany . During the first wave in March and April, dozens of seriously ill people were transferred to Germany, where the capacity for intensive care is greatest.
The day after the Republic of Ireland entered confinement, Wales followed in his footsteps. There are 3.1 million people with orders to stay at home on a 17-day “fire break”. Containment prohibits the opening of all retailers, cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels. “Our ambition is that we don’t need to have this level of restriction again in Wales before Christmas”, said the head of the Welsh government Mark Drakeford.
On Saturday, the English county of South Yorkshire, which includes the city of Sheffield, will raise the alert level to very high, like Manchester, which means closing down pubs, cafes and restaurants and limiting the number of people inside the home.
As of the weekend, 7.3 million people in England will live under the toughest restrictions and Boris Johnson’s government has warned that other regions may follow suit. In number of deaths, the United Kingdom was the hardest hit in Europe, registering almost 45,000 deaths.
In Poland, which reached 13600 infections in one day, a record number, confinement was adopted at the national level which includes the partial closure of primary schools and restaurants.
For the second consecutive day, Italy reported a record number of new cases, recording 19143 infections over the 24-hour period.
Switzerland has also reached a new record of infections by the virus, with 6634 new cases during the previous 24 hours. The federal government in Bern is expected to impose tougher national measures next week, even when the country intends to keep the economy open and schools functioning.
Revolt against the minister
In the Czech Republic, revolt is the watchword following Health Minister Roman Prymula was caught without a mask leaving a restaurant that should have been closed according to the restrictions that he established himself. Prymula says he was having a meeting in facilities adjacent to the restaurant and that he refuses to resign.
Sweden continues to disagree with the rest of the countries. Despite an increase in cases, and deaths, the new measures announced by the government and to take effect on November 1 are only limiting the number of people in restaurants, bars and clubs.
Authorities have advised residents of the university city of Uppsala to avoid public transport and contact with people outside their home for a few days after a spike in infections since the students returned.
Across the globe, covid-19 has claimed the lives of 1.1 million people – about a fifth in the United States – and infected nearly 42 million.