How Europe's hospitals are faring in the face of another pandemic fall

Most European countries have eased restrictions in recent weeks.

London (CNN)Much of Europe has opened up to international visitors and scaled back Covid-19 restrictions since a wave of cases swept the continent in the spring.

Those steps back toward pre-Covid life have been accompanied by a gradual rise in cases and hospitalizations in many nations, with the more transmissible Delta variant dominant in the region.
However, vaccination rollouts have kept hospital admissions far below where they were in the first months of 2021.
    As a result, Europe presents a varied picture as governments brace for a potential rise in cases in the autumn and winter months.
      Here's the situation in five key European countries.

      The UK

      After beginning 2021 with one of Europe's longest and strictest lockdowns, the UK lifted virtually all remaining restrictions in July despite an uptick in cases. Large events and nightclubs are able to operate without distancing measures, and masks are no longer required in most public places.
        Hospitalizations have trickled up since that date. In early September, daily admissions of Covid-19 patients reached a seven-day rolling average of 1,000 for the first time since February, according to official data.
        A London memorial to people who have died from Covid-19 in the UK.
        But the UK's strong vaccination rollout has kept numbers far below where they were in the winter peak; in January more than 4,000 people were admitted to British hospitals every day with the virus, despite cases being only slightly higher than they are now.
        On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that restrictions could return in the winter if the country's National Health Service (NHS) risks becoming overwhelmed. "Covid is still out there. The disease sadly still remains a risk," he said at a press conference.


        Hospital admissions in France rose throughout August, amid warnings of a fourth wave of the virus hitting facilities across the country. By the end of the month more than 11,000 people were in hospitals with Covid-19.
        But hospitalizations have shown some signs of leveling off in September. The total number of patients has dipped back below 10,000 -- well shy of the country's April surge, when more than 30,000 people were being cared for.
        France has implemented strict restrictions on unvaccinated people in an effort to advance its rollout. As of Thursday, healthcare workers are required to be fully immunized, and "health passes" are needed in order to enter restaurants or travel long distances.
        The government has confirmed that around 3,000 healthcare workers have been suspended after missing the deadline to get fully vaccinated.


        Italy was battling a huge surge in hospitalizations in April, with more than 32,000 people admitted to the country's health care facilities. The number of patients then dropped to a low of around 1,250 in mid-July, before climbing again in recent weeks, according to Our World in Data.
        The country has seen just under 5,000 hospitalizations in recent days.
        After being hit hard in the early stages of the first wave, Italy was one of the first countries to reopen to visitors in 2020. In 2021, entry has been largely limited to residents of the European Union, plus a select list of non-EU countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan and the UK.
        Italy on Thursday became the first country in Europe to make it mandatory for all public and private sector workers to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from infection. The rule is aimed at persuading more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and is due to come into force on October 15.
        "This is to make these [work] places safer, and make the vaccination campaign even stronger," Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said. He called the decree "a strategy that points on the vaccine as fundamental key to open a new season." Around 75% of the Italian population aged 12 years and over have currently been fully vaccinated, according to government figures.