Europe becomes COVID-19’s epicentre again, some countries look at fresh curbs

  • Europe accounts for half of newest infections and deaths
  • Outbreaks stir fears over winter months, financial impression
  • Numerous nations think about unpopular curbs once more
  • Vaccines not the silver bullet, specialists warn

LONDON/MILAN, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Europe has turn into the epicentre of the pandemic once more, prompting some governments to contemplate re-imposing unpopular lockdowns within the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether or not vaccines alone are sufficient to tame COVID-19.

Europe accounts for greater than half of the common 7-day infections globally and about half of newest deaths, in keeping with a Reuters tally, the best ranges since April final yr when the virus was at its preliminary peak in Italy.

Governments and corporations are fearful the extended pandemic will derail a fragile financial restoration. International locations together with the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic are taking or planning measures to curb the unfold.

The contemporary issues over what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described on Friday as “storm clouds” over Europe come as profitable inoculation campaigns have plateaued forward of the winter months and flu season. read more

About 65% of the inhabitants of the European Financial Space (EEA) – which incorporates the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – have acquired two doses, in keeping with EU knowledge, however the tempo has slowed in current months.

Take-up in southern European nations is round 80%, however hesitancy has hampered rollout in central and japanese Europe and Russia, resulting in outbreaks that would overwhelm healthcare.

Germany, France and the Netherlands are additionally experiencing a surge in infections, displaying the problem even for governments with excessive acceptance charges.

To make sure, hospitalisations and deaths are a lot decrease than a yr in the past and massive variations by nation in use of vaccines and boosters in addition to measures like social distancing make it onerous to attract conclusions for the entire area.


However a mixture of low vaccine take-up in some elements, waning immunity amongst these inoculated early and complacency about masks and distancing as governments relaxed curbs over the summer time are more likely to blame, virologists and public well being specialists instructed Reuters.

“If there’s one factor to be taught from this it is to not take your eye off the ball,” mentioned Lawrence Younger, a virologist at Warwick Medical Faculty within the UK.

The World Well being Group’s report for the week to Nov. 7 confirmed that Europe, together with Russia, was the one area to report an increase in circumstances, up 7%, whereas different areas reported declines or secure tendencies.

Equally, it reported a ten% improve in deaths, whereas different areas reported declines.

The Netherlands was anticipated to announce on Friday night a three-week partial lockdown that will likely be Western Europe’s first for the reason that summer time – ordering bars and eating places to shut early and sporting occasions to be held with out audiences. read more

Germany will reintroduce free COVID-19 checks from Saturday, appearing well being minister Jens Spahn mentioned on Friday. A draft regulation in Germany would enable for measures resembling obligatory face masks and social distancing in public areas to proceed to be enforced till subsequent March.

Austria’s authorities is more likely to resolve on Sunday to impose a lockdown on people who find themselves not vaccinated, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg mentioned on Friday. read more


Most EU nations are deploying additional photographs to the aged and people with weakened immune programs, however increasing vaccination to extra of the inhabitants ought to be a precedence to keep away from steps like lockdown, scientists mentioned.

“The actual urgency is to widen the pool of vaccinated folks as a lot as attainable,” mentioned Carlo Federico Perno, head of microbiology and immunology diagnostics at Rome’s Bambino Gesù Hospital.

The EU’s medicines regulator can be evaluating using Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine in 5 to 11-year-olds. read more

Norway will supply a 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose to everybody aged 18 and older and can give municipalities the choice of utilizing digital “corona passes”, the federal government mentioned on Friday. Norway has to date given a 3rd dose solely to these aged 65 and older.

From Dec. 1, Italy may even supply the third dose to folks over 40.

“This (outbreak) will most likely make the EU take a look at booster doses and say ‘we do want them pronto’,” mentioned Michael Head, senior analysis fellow in world well being on the College of Southampton.


Nonetheless struggling to ramp up photographs, central and japanese European governments have needed to take drastic motion.

Latvia, one of many least vaccinated nations within the EU, imposed a four-week lockdown in mid-October. Its parliament voted on Friday to ban lawmakers who refuse vaccination from voting on legislature and collaborating in discussions.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia have additionally tightened restrictions.

Vaccines alone will not be the silver bullet to defeat the pandemic in the long run, virologists say.

A number of pointed to Israel for example of excellent apply: along with inoculations, it has strengthened masks carrying and launched vaccine passports after circumstances spiked a couple of months in the past.

Measures resembling spacing, masks and vaccine mandates for indoor venues are important, mentioned Antonella Viola, professor of immunology at Italy’s College of Padua.

Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Emilio Parodi in Milan;
Further reporting by Maria Sheahan in Berlin; Modifying by Frances Kerry and Jon Boyle

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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