Covid cases have started to rise across Europe, with Germany being the latest country to issue a warning after the number of infections rose sharply this week – but added that the rise is “expected” as winter approaches.
Germany’s health ministry said on Friday the number of cases is “escalating” in “all age groups” after registering nearly 20,000 new infections in 24 hours, a 70 percent increase per week, even with mask mandates and Covid passports.
“The increase in the number of cases is expected to accelerate in the autumn and winter,” said Oliver Ewald, and German ministers do not expect them to increase current restrictions or re-introduce lockdowns.
Germany’s numbers reflect a trend building across much of Europe, with the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland seeing infection rates rise among dozens of countries as the weather gets colder.
While restrictions vary from country to country, none so far have tightened their measures in response to the increasing cases – with the exception of Latvia and Russia, both of which have low vaccination rates.
Latvia this week became the first European country to enter a winter lockdown this week as Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced a month-long lockdown of the country in response to the explosive cases.
Covid cases are on the rise in much of Europe as winter approaches, with Germany becoming the latest country to issue a warning, though current restrictions won’t be tightened as health chiefs say an increase is “expected” (pictured, a chart showing Europe’s infection rate compares countries to population size)
Germany currently has some of the most restrictive Covid measures in Europe, with widespread use of Covid passports and has made medical grade masks mandatory in indoor public areas – although cases are still rising
His country now has the highest infection rate in Europe compared to population size – a fact he attributes to low vaccination rates. Only 57 percent of the population has ever received a double shot, compared to a European average of 75 percent.
Ilze Vinkele, the country’s former health minister who oversaw the response to previous waves of infection, blamed the vaccine’s hesitation in older and younger people for suppressing the overall jab rate. Daniels Pavluts, the current health minister, blames the poor information spread by the Russian media for the low acceptance.
Russia – where just 32 percent of the population has been double-stuck – is also suffering a brutal spate of Covid infections and deaths that have seen regions begin to impose restrictions again, though the government denies it is going into lockdown again.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin this week ordered elderly residents to stay at home for four months, telling businesses that 30 percent of staff must work from home.
The Kremlin is urging people to get vaccinated as the country’s underfunded health care system struggles to cope with the rising number of cases.
Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium’s health minister, also warned this week of the rising number of cases in the country – but added that a new wave of infections was “to be expected”.
“We will have to brace ourselves to tackle the fourth wave,” he said, calling on the government to expand the use of Covid passports and make masks mandatory in indoor environments.
Currently, Belgium only requires Covid passports in nightclubs and masks on public transport, although they are “recommended” in all indoor areas. Some regions, such as Brussels, have stricter measures.
Latvia has become the only European country so far to reinstate lockdown amid rising infections that the country’s prime minister has attributed to low vaccination rates, with just 57 percent double-stings (pictured, medics set up a temporary ward in a Latvian hospital)
The Netherlands – which has similar rules to Belgium for the use of masks and Covid passports – is also seeing a spike in the number of cases, but health advisers have said there are no plans to reintroduce the nightly curfew like during the wave of last week. winter then led to violent protests.
Instead, the Dutch Public Health Institute pointed out that “most of those in hospital with Covid-19 have not been vaccinated,” while urging people to get their shots.
Germany currently has much stricter Covid rules than both Belgium and the Netherlands, but is nevertheless seeing a sharp rise in the number of cases.
Covid passports are required to enter most indoor spaces where personal interactions take place, such as restaurants and hair salons. Other indoor areas, such as shops, do not require a Covid pass, but people must wear a medical-grade mask to enter.
The leaders of Germany’s 16 regional states are meeting to discuss the next steps in the fight against the pandemic and are expected to maintain the existing measures for the most part.
Germany’s public health authority has implored all citizens, including those who have been fully vaccinated or have already recovered from Covid, to continue to respect the recommended health guidelines.
“Unnecessary close contacts should be reduced and, in particular, indoor situations that could become so-called super-dispersal events should be avoided where possible,” the report added.
More than 66 percent of the population in Germany has now been fully vaccinated against Covid. Nearly 70 percent have received at least the first dose.
Poland, which is close to Germany, has also warned of rising Covid cases – with health ministers saying a ‘fourth wave’ has arrived, while vaccination rates hover only around 50 percent.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski described the rise as “an explosion” and warned that “drastic measures” should be considered if more people don’t get their shots.
European ministers have resisted calls to reinstate lockdowns and are instead urging people to get their first vaccines and booster shots, with health advisers in the Netherlands (file image) pointing out that most people in hospital not be stabbed
Meanwhile, the UK has also seen Covid cases rise from an already high base to levels not seen since the start of the year when the lockdown was in place – but ministers have insisted there is no need to lift the restrictions just yet. to sharpen.
Britain has pioneered the way out of lockdowns in Europe, dropping nearly all of its Covid restrictions in favor of a ‘common sense’ approach to living with the virus.
The country also has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, with nearly 70 percent fully stung.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that while the number of cases is rising, it was predicted and the current numbers are well within expectations.
He said there is “absolutely no indication” that further restrictions or a lockdown will be needed, but added that a rollout of booster shots will be accelerated while encouraging people to come forward for their injections.
“I think there are many steps we need to take to continue to follow the guidelines,” he said during a visit to a vaccination center today.
“So sober stuff — washing your hands, wearing a mask in confined spaces where you don’t normally meet other people…where you meet people you don’t normally meet, I’d have to say.
‘That’s sensible. But the most important message for today is that all people, over the age of 50, should think about getting a booster shot.
“If you get a call, give the shot.”