After successfully tamping down the first surge of infection and death, Europe is now in the middle of a second coronavirus wave as it moves into winter.
UK: England’s largest study of coronavirus infections show the spread of the disease may be slowing, according to a team at Imperial College London, who analyzed samples from 84,000 people taken between September 18 to 26.
The study suggests that the latest R-value (the reproductive number) had decreased from 1.7 to 1.1 — but that a range of values from 0.7 to 1.5 mean that an accurate figure is hard to gauge.
While the findings provide early evidence that measures to control the infection are working, “the prevalence of infection is the highest we have recorded to date,” Professor Paul Elliott, the director of the study Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT 1), said.
The findings, however did point to an increase in the spread of the virus in the community. The study estimated that 1 in 200 people across England have the virus, amounting to 0.55% of the population.
This is an increase in previous round of testing from the middle of August to the beginning of September, where the figure was 0.13% of the population.
Netherlands: More than 10,000 people in the Netherlands died from Covid-19 in the first wave of the pandemic, new statistics released on Thursday by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show.
In the months March through June, there were 7,797 deaths in which a doctor listed Covid-19 as the cause of death, and an additional 2,270 in which Covid-19 was listed as the suspected cause of death, totaling 10,067.
This toll is significantly higher than the less comprehensive numbers from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, which reported 6,086 deaths for the same months March through June, and a total of 6,406 deaths as of Wednesday.
Germany: Germany lifted its blanket warning against traveling to all countries outside the European Union, the country’s foreign ministry announced Thursday.
Germany imposed a global travel warning at the beginning of March when the coronavirus outbreak hit Italy, lifting travel restrictions for most European countries in June.
Spain: The government announced new coronavirus restrictions last night, which would put the capital Madrid into a form of lockdown.
The new restrictions require people to stay at home except to go to work, classes, and to meet legal obligations or due to extreme circumstances. Shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50% and to close earlier.
Gatherings will remain restricted to no more than six people, in both public or private spaces.
Spain reported 11,016 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. Madrid alone reported 1,586 new infections, accounting for more than 40% of the national increase.
Italy: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he will ask parliament to extend the country’s Covid-19 state of emergency until the end of January.
Speaking during an impromptu press conference in Caserta, Conte said that the Covid-19 situation requires “maximum attention,” even though the “spread is under control.”
Italy was the first major European country to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and among the first countries to impose a strict national lockdown.