Countries across Europe are seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases after successfully slowing outbreaks early in the year.
Some countries — such as Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Montenegro, North Macedonia — are seeing higher case numbers in August than they did earlier in the year.
Belgium, Italy and the UK — among Europe’s worst-hit countries — are seeing a resurgence but, so far at least, nothing like March and April. Of the three, the UK’s figures look the most worrying. It registered 4,322 cases on September 18.
France, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain are likely dealing with the much-feared second wave and have started taking action to curb it. France, for example, declared 13,498 new cases on Saturday, the highest figure it has recorded.
“We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” said Dr Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, on Thursday. He was speaking as he revealed Europe’s number of weekly infections was higher now than at the first peak in March.
While on the face of it infection numbers might be higher, it could be accounted for by the increase in testing – many countries didn’t have the capacity to carry out tests in such a high volume earlier in the year.