The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) coronavirus alarm threshold is 20 cases per 100,000 people on a seven-day average. Beyond that, the agency says, the risk of Covid-19 is high, with a very high probability of infection, while vulnerable individuals face a “very high impact” from the disease.
And the situation is looking precarious. Only Germany (18.4 cases per 100,000), Finland (15.5), Cyprus (14.6) and Norway (13.9) fall below this case threshold, ECDC data showed on Monday. At the other end of the scale are the Czech Republic (167.6), the Netherlands (140.3) and France (120.3).
The death rate has also been rising in Europe and sustained increases in case levels have been recorded in 27 countries, the agency said Thursday in its weekly report.
Countries are also introducing new restrictions in order to curb the spread:
- In Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team has reportedly recommended placing the whole country on the highest level of restrictions
- Iceland has brought in a range of new rules, including restrictions on gatherings and the closure of some leisure facilities.
- France’s capital is on the verge of a fresh lockdown, with the greater Paris area classified as a “maximum alert” zone.
- The Czech Republic has entered a state of emergency.
- Central districts in Berlin have been classified as risk areas by Germany’s health body.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is self-isolating after participating in a meeting that was attended by a person who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. She tested negative for the virus for the second time on Monday.
And the health authority in England admitted that thousands of infections had not been included in the UK’s coronavirus case tally due to a “technical issue.”
Paris faces new lockdown
Paris is on the verge of a fresh lockdown as coronavirus cases surge in France.
Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that the greater Paris area will be classified as a “maximum alert” zone, forcing bars to close, with measures in effect from Tuesday.
A press release from Castex’s office said the region has crossed the three thresholds that would put it in such an alert category: disease incidence rate, incidence rate for the elderly and occupancy rate of resuscitation beds by Covid-19 patients.
As part of measures expected to stay in place until October 16, restaurants will remain open providing they respect new health measures, but gyms will stay closed and the sale and consumption of alcohol in public spaces after 10 p.m. will be forbidden, Paris police chief Didier Lallement said. Organized public gatherings of more than 1,000 and gatherings of more than 10 will be banned, although demonstrations will be allowed, Lallement said.
On Saturday, the country recorded 16,972 new Covid-19 cases over 24 hours, surpassing last week’s previous daily record. According to Aurélien Rousseau, the head of Paris’ health authority, more than 36% of ICU beds in the region are currently occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Ireland mulls highest restrictions
Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan will on Monday meet the Covid-19 Oversight Group of top civil servants to discuss the latest National Public Health Emergency Team recommendations, which suggest placing the placing country under Level 5 restrictions – the highest level of measures, RTÉ reports.
If introduced, Level 5 restrictions would see all retailers except those deemed essential closed, while social gatherings would be restricted and people restricted to exercising within 5 kilometers of their homes.
EU leader enters self-isolation
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is self-isolating after participating in a meeting that was attended by a person who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, she announced on Twitter.
Von der Leyen said on Monday that she tested negative for the virus, and would continue to self isolate until Tuesday evening, having previously announced that she tested negative for the virus last Thursday.
Under Belgian government rules, von der Leyen is required to quarantine for seven days after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive person.
Eric Mamer, the EU Commission’s chief spokesman, said von der Leyen would not be able to attend Tuesday’s European Parliament plenary session or the EU/Ukraine summit.
Czech Republic in state of emergency
A state of emergency has been introduced in the Czech Republic – which saw some initial success in curbing the spread of the virus – to help to curb the country’s accelerating growth of new Covid-19 cases, and to to relieve pressure on the health care system as a total of 1,841 new cases were recorded on Sunday.
The 30 days of measures – the second state of emergency implemented this year – will enable the authorities to legally declare and enforce various anti-coronavirus measures without government approval, according to the health ministry.
According to the restrictions, which are not as as draconian as they were during the first state of emergency from March to May, primary schools will remain open but secondary schools will close in the most affected areas for two weeks. Singing is banned in all schools, while no more than six people are allowed at tables in bars and restaurants, which can remain open until 10 p.m.
Indoor events are limited to 10 people and outdoor events to 20 people, while operas, musicals and other singing performances are banned for two weeks. Religious services are limited to 100 people and singing is banned during religious services.
Thousands of cases were missed off UK figures
The number of reported coronavirus infections in the UK jumped on Sunday to a new daily record of 22,961 on Sunday, nearly double the previous record for a single day, as it emerged that thousands of infections were not included in previously published daily figures, according to Public Health England (PHE).
The agency admitted that they failed to report a further 15,841 positive cases between September 25 and October 2 because of a “technical issue,” it said in a statement. The majority of these cases occurred in recent days, PHE said.
The UK’s opposition Labour Party criticized the government’s failure to report the infections at a time when a second wave of positive cases are being seen across the country, calling the mistake “shambolic.”
Sunday’s significant increase in reported cases means the UK’s total has now surpassed more than half a million infections since the start of the pandemic.
Sections of central Berlin at risk
Large parts of central Berlin have been classified as risk areas after the areas surpassed the country’s crucial incidence rate of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The districts – Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Mitte, Tempelhof-Schoeneberg and Neukoelln – have been labeled red on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German agency for disease control and prevention. As of Monday morning, Germany has more than 300,000 coronavirus cases, according to the RKI. The death toll has climbed to 9,534.
On Friday, Germany reported 2,673 new coronavirus infections – its highest number of daily infections since April 18.
New rules in Iceland
New restrictions came into effect in Iceland on midnight on October 5, as virus cases have continued to rise since mid-September. According to the restrictions, in force until October 19, gyms, pubs, clubs and casinos are to be closed, and no more than 20 people can gather, with some exceptions including for parliament and funerals.
Primary and secondary schools will remain open as usual, but colleges and universities will not permit more than 25 people in the same space.
CNN’s James Frater reported from Brussels. Amy Woodyatt wrote from London. Inga Thordar, Sharon Braithwaite, Frederik Pleitgen, Stephanie Halasz ,Tomas Etzler, Pierre Bairin, Jonny Hallam and Livia Borghese contributed reporting.