England’s chief medical official warned the country is currently on track to hit 50,000 Covid-19 cases per day by mid-October if the spread of coronavirus continues at its current pace, as countries across Europe reckon with an alarming surge in coronavirus cases and move toward imposing new restrictions to stave off a likely second wave.
Prof. Chris Whitty warned Monday that the United Kingdom had “turned a corner” on its coronavirus cases, which are now doubling every seven days, and the country is “going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem” if they do not “change course.”
The UK government is reportedly considering short-term lockdown measures to act as a “circuit breaker” to curb the virus’ spread, and local lockdown measures are being implemented in parts of northern England and Wales, and could be imposed soon in London.
Partial lockdown measures went into effect Monday in Madrid amid a rise in cases in Spain—prompting protests after the region’s president Isabel Díaz Ayuso partially blamed the surge on immigrants—and Ayuso met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez Monday to discuss further restrictions.
France has imposed some further lockdown restrictions in Nice as daily cases in the country have reached their highest numbers since the start of the pandemic—13,125 on Friday—and the French government reported Friday that the country’s death toll had reached its highest level since lockdown measures were lifted.
The Czech Republic’s health minister Andrej Babis resigned Monday amid the country’s surge in coronavirus cases in order to pave the way for the country to take a new approach to its coronavirus response, and other eastern European countries like Hungary are also seeing a surge in cases.
“Expect lots more restrictions over the days and weeks ahead, especially in Europe,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note Monday, as markets fell in response to Europe’s coronavirus surge. “The fact that the virus is already spreading quite rapidly is a big worry.”
2,868,502. That’s the total number of Covid-19 cases that have been recorded in the European Union/European Economic Area and the UK as of Monday, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Europe was one of the first places where the coronavirus pandemic initially exploded in its early days, with countries like Italy becoming epicenters of the pandemic as the virus first began to spread worldwide. Countries across the continent were largely able to curb their outbreaks after implementing strict lockdown measures, but more recently experienced worrying rises in their cases over the summer as restrictions were lifted. The new measures and warnings issued Monday come after the World Health Organization expressed significant concern about Europe’s trajectory last week, with WHO regional director Hans Kluge saying the continent faced a “very serious situation.” “Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” Kluge told reporters, saying the area’s Covid-19 metrics “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.”
Europe scrambles to contain rise in coronavirus cases (Associated Press)