Brussels, 28 October 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Several European countries reported record numbers of coronavirus infections and fatalities on Wednesday, as the European Commission warned countries against relaxing while the continent is gripped by a mounting second wave of the pandemic.
More than 1.1 million infections were confirmed in Europe last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a Brussels press conference.
“Now is not the time to loosen up,” von der Leyen said, warning EU citizens to resist fatigue in relation to virus containment measures. “This Christmas will be a different Christmas.”
“Obviously exit strategies were partly too fast,” the leading EU official said, pointing out that there are many unknowns related to the respiratory disease. “We do not know whether this is the last wave,” she warned.
Poland reported 18,820 new cases in the past 24 hours, beating the previous record set just a day earlier by over 2,500 infections, data from the Health Ministry showed.
Another 236 people died due to Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, also a new record, bringing the overall death toll in Poland to 4,851.
The Czech Republic recorded 15,663 new daily coronavirus infections on Wednesday, breaking its latest recorded set four days earlier, according to the Health Ministry.
Based on proportion, the Czech Republic with its 10.7 million inhabitants has been hit hardest by the pandemic in Europe, alongside Belgium.
Belgium surpassed the threshold of 100 deaths within 24 hours on Monday for the first time since April, Belga news agency reported on Wednesday, with 104 fatalities.
Brussels is currently weighing whether to impose a second lockdown after tightening measures earlier this week.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute logged a spike of 14,964 new coronavirus infections in the last 24-hour period, another record daily increase since the pandemic began.
Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed to enact sweeping contact restrictions for the month of November in a bid to stem coronavirus infections. Restaurants as well as cultural and leisure facilities are to be shuttered, sources told dpa.
France is also considering imposing a fresh lockdown, as the highest daily death toll since April – 523 fatalities related to the virus – was recorded by the government late on Tuesday. The total death toll now stands at 35,541.
Meanwhile, Scandinavian countries reported significantly lower numbers in comparison, that nonetheless represented some of the highest daily tallies nationally.
The Swedish Public Health Agency said that the number of new daily infections hit a new high of 2,128 cases on Wednesday, with a total of almost 118,000 infections in the country of 10.3 million and 5,927 coronavirus-related deaths.
“Last week we had one of the worst weeks we have experienced in terms of increased number of cases,” Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Neighbouring Denmark recorded 1,017 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, the second-highest number of daily infections reported by the Danish public health institute SSI.
The country of 5.8 million people has recorded almost 43,200 coronavirus cases and 715 virus-related deaths.
The number of total Covid-19 deaths has now climbed above 270,000 in Europe, according to World Health Organization figures. At present, the death curve is not as steep as the infection rate, as patients tend to be younger and hospitals have improved their treatment, compared to the first peak in April.