Thursday, October 21, 2021

Pandemic and lockdowns return to Europe

Latvia is first country to reimpose lockdown in Europe’s new Covid wave | The Guardian - Pjotr Sauer:

Oct 20, 2021 - "Latvia has announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections, becoming the first country in Europe to reimpose far-reaching restrictions amid a new wave of cases in countries across the continent. The Baltic country has one of the highest rates of new Covid cases relative to population in the world, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after ... keeping the virus at bay for months.

“'Our health system is in danger' … the prime minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, said on Monday evening at an emergency government meeting. He said the country’s low vaccination rate was to blame for the surge in hospital admissions. Only 57% of the 1.9 million Latvians are fully vaccinated, well below the EU average of 74%. The government imposed a month-long night-time curfew, from 8pm to 5am, this week and closed schools and all non-essential shops....

"Latvia is the first country in Europe to reimpose a strict lockdown as the fresh Covid wave gathers pace across the continent. The World Health Organization said there was a 7% rise in new coronavirus cases across Europe last week, the only region in the world where cases increased, according to the health body....

"Poland’s health minister, Adam Niedzielski, said on Wednesday the country had experienced an 'explosion of the pandemic in the last two days' and warned the Covid situation was 'becoming very serious'. Poland’s daily number of cases had exceeded 5,000 for the first time since May. Neighbouring Slovakia reported 3,480 new cases on Tuesday, its highest daily tally since the spring, according to health ministry data.

"Bulgaria on Tuesday recorded its highest Covid death rate since late March, and the authorities made vaccine passports compulsory for visiting gyms, museums, cafes and other public places to stop the spread of the virus. In Romania and Ukraine local hospitals have found themselves under intense pressure, as the two countries have been posting record numbers of Covid deaths this month.

"In Russia, which has been reporting record daily deaths and has a vaccination rate dramatically below the EU’s, with only a third of its population vaccinated, a new set of restrictions was announced on Tuesday. In Moscow, unvaccinated citizens aged over 60 were ordered to stay at home for four months and vaccine passports were introduced in several regions.

"Moscow will go into a full lockdown if coronavirus infections continue to increase in the capital, a government order that was sent to businesses in the Russian capital on Wednesday said. The order, seen by the Guardian, would close all non-essential businesses, including restaurants, shopping malls and museums as well as suspend planned medical procedures from 30 October to 7 November. The order said that the lockdown would come into effect if the total number of new coronavirus cases in the capital over the next seven days surpasses the number of infections recorded in the previous week. The measures, labelled as a 'short-term lockdown' in the document, would amount to Russia’s strictest coronavirus restrictions since spring 2020."

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Chart courtesy Worldometer

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