An alarming rise in coronavirus cases in Europe has raised concerns with the number of new daily infections reaching record highs in some countries.
European Union 14-day case notification rate (the number of newly reported cases) for the European Economic Area and the U.K. has been increasing for more than 50 days, with over half of all EU countries currently experiencing an increase in cases, warned by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Wednesday.
According to data collated by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Spain has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe at 614,360 and reportedly set to announce targeted lockdowns in places with the rapid spread of the virus along with renewed restrictions of movement on Friday.
In France, the number of new daily cases reported on Wednesday (9,784) was among the highest ever reported in the country despite being just below an all-time record of 10,561 new cases recorded on Saturday.
There is also a rise in the number of people being treated in intensive care units for Covid-19 for the 20th straight day to a three-month high of 803, Reuters reported on Wednesday. France tally of cases stands at 404,888, according to the French Health Ministry.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that the virus was circulating quicker and quicker in certain parts of the country while remarking on the rise in cases, Reuters reported.
According to JHU data, the United Kingdom has the third-highest number of cases in Europe, at 380,677 and has seen an alarming rise in cases across various parts of northern England in recent weeks.
It has started to reintroduce measures to restrict social gatherings, with the number of people allowed to meet now limited to six in England whereas stricter measures targeting north-east England could be announced Thursday, the BBC reported.
Italy was the epicenter of Europe’s first coronavirus outbreak in February but now has the fourth-highest number of reported infections, at 291,442 to date with a recent rise in cases. Italy has registered 1,452 new cases in the last 24 hours, up from 1,229 new cases on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
Although it was partly attributed to a sharp increase in coronavirus tests, news agency ANSA reported. Though, the health ministry noted that Italy is seeing the highest number of active cases since June, with 40,532 people currently infected with the coronavirus.
Germany has seen a slight rise in cases despite having managed to keep its death toll low compared to its number of cases in the first wave of the coronavirus cases, .
“The increase in the number of cases reported since mid-July had stabilized at a slightly higher level in calendar week 35 (starting August 24) and 36, but since calendar week 37, a slight increase can be observed again.” The Robert Koch Institute, which monitors the epidemic in Germany, said on Wednesday.
It further added that more young people have become infected in recent weeks. The death toll from rising infections has been significantly lower so far than in spring and early summer when the virus first hit Europe however the World Health Organization has warned that it could change in the winter.
The higher number of reported infections has been attributed to more sophisticated and active testing regimes in Europe, however, the ECDC on Wednesday said that “although increased testing contributes to a higher awareness of all ongoing transmission, it is not the only reason for the increase of Covid-19 cases.”
It linked the rise to the relaxation of physical distancing and other preventive measures.