Europe is trying to figure out how to loosen coronavirus restrictions without setting the stage for another surge.
“We must learn from the summer and not repeat the same mistakes,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, told lawmakers in Brussels earlier this week. “Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas.”
The number of new daily cases has fallen in recent weeks in Britain, France, Spain, and other European countries, although the virus continues to surge in Germany.
Germany crossed the one million mark, recording a total of 1,006,394 coronavirus infections as of Friday, with 22,806 new cases that day, according to figures fro the Robert Koch Institute. The reported death toll there rose by 426 to 15,586, the RKI said. Bundeskanzler Angela Merkel said that the overall restrictions, which are currently set to continue through December 20, will, given the continued surge in infections, likely stay in place through early January.
Meanwhile, Austria will begin the largest mass testing for the coronavirus to date when it starts next week to test the entire population. Following the lead of Slovakia and the Südtirol, or South Tyrol, formerly a part of Austria but now a part of Itlay, the country’s military will help test as many as 150,000 residents per day as part of an effort to lower the spread of the virus. The program, “provides the opportunity to localize a high number of infected people,” said Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz to reporters last week.
The state of Victoria, in southeast Australia, is declaring victory over the coronavirus after 28 days without any new cases. “Today, we mark the 28th day of zero cases across our state,” said Daniel Andrew’s, Victoria’s premier.
Days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was roundly criticized for his plan to have Thanksgiving dinner with his elderly mother and his two daughters, a plan he quickly changed, the mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, was forced to publicly apologize after ignoring his own advice and flying to be with his wife and daughter in Mississippi for the holiday.
Finally, the United States recorded the lowest number of new virus cases in weeks, 103,116. Over the past week, the average number of new cases, however, was 164,687 per day, a 23% increase from the average two weeks prior.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)