With Covid-19 cases spiking across the continent, many European countries are reimposing restrictions, including travel warnings, mask mandates and partial lockdowns, in hopes of curbing coronavirus outbreaks that are leading to increased hospitalizations and deaths.
The five countries with the highest rate of infection worldwide are all in Europe (Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland), according to CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
France reported 42,032 new cases on Friday, a new record high, and 298 deaths, as French President Emmanuel Macron announced an overnight curfew would be extended to about two-thirds of the country for six weeks.
The Czech Republic is currently the hardest-hit country in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), with the country reporting 15,252 new cases of coronavirus for Oct. 23, its highest daily tally.
Italy also set a new record high for new coronavirus cases (16,079) recorded in a single day on Friday, which has led to many local Italian governors demanding harsher restrictions. The Governor of Campania, Vincenzo De Luca, announced he would close the region “for 30 to 40 days” and stated he believes a national lockdown should be instituted. Italy’s Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, said earlier this week that a lockdown would not be necessary if “quick, urgent and strong measures” were taken immediately. In Belgium, which holds the second-highest infection rate in Europe, hospital occupancy reached nearly 90% this week. In some infirmaries, doctors and nurses who have tested positive but don’t have symptoms are reportedly being asked to keep working. “We have runaway numbers in terms of contamination, and a major issue is the risk of the collapse of the hospital system of our country,” Rudi Vervoort, the minister-president of Brussels, said Saturday. The government announced that masks will once again be mandated in public spaces in Brussels
“Said in a brutally clear way, I don’t want to find ourselves in front of military trucks that carry hundreds of coffins,” said De Luca.
The United States is dealing with spiking Covid-19 numbers as well. More than 85,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. on Friday, breaking the single-day record set back on July 16 by roughly 10,000 cases.
1.1 Million: As of Saturday afternoon, 1,147,192 people worldwide have died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.