Covid-19 infections and deaths are rising again in Europe, with Russia, Ukraine and Romania recording the highest deaths on the continent, an AFP report shows.
About 1,672,000 new cases were recorded on the continent over the past week, an average of about 239,000 per day.
This was an increase of 18% compared to last week, according to AFP data compiled by official sources from 52 countries and territories in the region.
The increase in cases was a 60% increase from August and September, when about 150,000 new cases per day were recorded, the data showed.
In the region, 42 countries saw an increase in new infections over the past week, with only seven countries marking a decline.
The most affected countries in terms of new cases are Ukraine, Hungary and Poland.
When considering the rates of infections per capita, Latvia, Estonia and Georgia are most affected.
Kosovo, Luxembourg and Malta have seen a sharp decline.
Current numbers remain below the daily record for the region, which recorded an average of 284,000 cases per day between 2-8 November 2020.
But Europe now accounts for 55% of all new cases globally.
Deaths are also on the rise.
AFP data showed an average of 3,120 daily deaths on the continent in the previous seven days, 16% more than last week.
It is the first time that deaths in the region have exceeded 3,000 daily deaths since May, although current numbers are still far from the record of an average of 5,735 deaths every day from 14 to 20 January this year.
More than a third of the deaths recorded in Europe are currently in Russia, which reported an average of 1,051 deaths each day, followed by Ukraine (485) and Romania (420).
Bulgaria reports a record number of Covid-19 virus and infections
Bulgaria reported a record number of deaths and daily coronavirus infections as the fourth wave of the disease is spreading to the health system in the European Union’s least vaccinated member state.
New infections in the previous 24 hours reached 5,863 while 243 people died from the virus, official data showed.
The pandemic has killed 23,316 people in Bulgaria.
Faced with growing infections and frustrated by slow vaccination, the Balkan country of 7 million has made health permits mandatory for most enclosed public spaces.
The new restrictions have sparked protests and several political parties have accused the interim government of failing to manage the pandemic ahead of the November 14th parliamentary elections.
Health authorities have warned that failure to slow the new wave of the disease could lead to tougher restrictions as hospitals struggle to deal with more Covid-19 patients.
More than 7,100 people are in Covid wards, including 608 of them in intensive care.
More than 90% of patients were not vaccinated, the data showed.
Vaccinations have been on the rise since last Thursday, when authorities restricted access to restaurants, cinemas and gyms, among others, for those who have been vaccinated, cured of the virus or have a negative Covid-19 test.
However, Bulgaria, where vaccine skepticism is high amid deep-rooted mistrust of state authorities and conflicting messages from politicians and experts, has managed to completely inoculate only 24% of its adult population compared to an EU average of 74 %.
Spain will give a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna to people who have injected J&J
Spain will give a boost injection of coronavirus vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna to people who have received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, the Ministry of Health has said.
From November 15, about two million people in the country who had the J&J vaccine will receive a booster vaccine, three months after their first vaccine, the ministry said in a statement.
With about 88.5% of its population fully vaccinated, Spain has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in Europe.
Earlier this month, the government began delivering third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people age 70 and older.
The incidence of the virus measured over the previous 14 days rose yesterday to 46.4 cases per 100,000 people, but remains below the threshold of 50 cases considered to be low risk by the government.
Russia’s daily deaths from Covid set a new record at 1,106
Russia has reported 1,106 deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest figure since the pandemic began, amid an increase in new cases prompting authorities to reinstate partial blockade measures.
The daily number has set new records in six of the last eight days.
The Covid-19 State Task Force also reported 36,446 new infections, compared to 37,930 the day before.
Russia will enter a nationwide job closure in the first week of November and the capital Moscow will restore a partial blockade by October 28, with only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets allowed to remain open.
Authorities have blamed rising deaths and infections for the slow vaccination rate.
As an incentive, President Vladimir Putin has ordered that injecting persons be given two days off with pay.
Hong Kong will further tighten Covid travel restrictions
Hong Kong will tighten travel restrictions for the coronavirus to bring it more in line with the Chinese mainland, its leader said, as the city extended its belt by more than two months without a major local outbreak.
The announcement came despite concerns from the international center’s business community that the city remains infinitely detached from the rest of the world, with one of the strictest mandatory quarantine regimes of any jurisdiction.
Most newcomers must complete a 14 to 21 day hotel quarantine.
Chief executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong will now go even further as it tries to persuade China’s leaders to restore travel to the continent.
“We will soon … announce that most quarantine exemptions granted to specific groups of visitors coming from abroad and the continent will be canceled,” Ms. Lam said, adding that only essential workers, such as cross-border truck drivers, will be allowed to travel without quarantine.
Currently, Hong Kong allows certain groups of people to be quarantined or isolated at home. They include diplomats and business leaders, as well as several continents with residence cards in Hong Kong.
Ms. Lam did not specify which categories will now be denied the exemptions.
Last month, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman was allowed to bypass quarantine to shoot a TV series, a decision that sparked much public outrage.
The latest coronavirus stories
Ms. Lam has previously described reopening the continent as “more important” than re-establishing Hong Kong international travel links.
She made it clear that Beijing expects the city to imitate its strict restrictions.
“We are caught in a kind of dilemma because in order to resume some quarantine trips to the mainland, we need to make sure that our anti-Covid-19 practices are more in line with continental practices,” she told reporters.
“So if Hong Kong were to release border controls for people coming from abroad or adopt what other countries have done – the so-called Covid-19 virus – then the chances of traveling to the mainland would be are reduced. “
The Hong Kong business community has seen growing anger as rival financial centers such as Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York reopen.
Yesterday, the top lobby group for financial firms warned that Ms. Lam’s decision to pursue a zero-Covid strategy and keep the city isolated was ruining its long-term prospects as a business hub.
But there are few signs of change on the horizon.
China maintains strict restrictions on overseas arrivals and has not given any timeline for opening its borders.
China demands faster testing for Covid-19 in the midst of the recent explosion
China is seeking faster and more accessible Covid-19 testing services in its latest attempt to bolster a zero-tolerance policy against the virus, even as cities have already tried to test millions in just a few days between outbreaks.
Frequent testing, and sometimes mass testing, is standard practice in China controlling domestically transmitted outbreaks in the past year, but health authorities say testing services remain unsatisfactory in parts of China in the midst of outbreaks.
“Small clusters and sporadic infections have occurred in some areas, exposing problems such as unreasonable locations of nucleic acid testing agencies, inadequate services and delays in returning results,” state media reported, citing the National Commission. Health (NHC).
China is facing a new wave of infections involving nearly 200 symptomatic cases transmitted locally in 12 provincial areas since October 17. Many of those infected were from remote parts of northwest China without as many health resources as major cities.
Four million people have been placed in isolation in the Chinese city of Lanzhou in an effort to eradicate the stroke of the local coronavirus.
The restrictions came after China reported 29 new household infections – including six cases in Lanzhou, the provincial capital of northwestern Gansu province.
Officials in Lanzhou said the “entry and exit of residents” would be strictly controlled and limited to essential supplies or medical treatment.
“All types of residential communities should implement closed management,” authorities said in a statement.
China’s latest spread has been linked to the sticky Delta variant, with the report from the latest spread exceeding 100 cases over the past week.
Health officials have warned that more infections could occur as testing will increase in the coming days to fight the blast, which has been linked to a group of local tourists.
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