Record cases in connection with the capture of the last wave in Europe

Medical staff work in an intensive care unit with Covid-19 patients at a hospital in Freising, near Munich, southern Germany, on November 16, 2021.


LONDON. The latest wave of Covid-19 cases is hitting Europe with a vengeance, with several countries seeing record numbers of daily infections, introducing partial blockages and imposing additional restrictions on unvaccinated people.

Germany broke a new record on Thursday report over 65,000 new caseswhile health officials warn that the actual number of cases could be two or three times higher.

In the neighboring Netherlands over 20,000 new cases were reported on wednesday, a new record for the third day in a row, and in France, where the fifth wave of the pandemic is going on, the number of new cases exceeded 20,000 on Wednesday, a level not reached since August 25, Reuters reported.

While the Netherlands and Austria have introduced partial isolation, other countries are desperate to avoid implementing full or medium-scale isolation measures like 2020, given the economic damage they can do, opting instead for more Covid rules and Covid passports.

In Belgium, new Covid measures have been announced, requiring people to work from home and use masks indoors, amid one of the sharpest spikes in infections in Europe.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo is keen to avoid new isolation, but on Wednesday told CNBC correspondent Silvia Amaro that despite the rise in cases, it has not been as dramatic as previous waves, thanks to widespread vaccination.

However, he said, “the pressure in our hospitals is growing, so we must be careful, but reasonable measures should allow us to avoid the need to shut down certain parts of our society or economy.”

More details: Belgium announces new Covid restrictions, but PM vows to avoid isolation

Covid passports are becoming the norm throughout Europe and indicate a person’s Covid status (whether vaccinated or recovered from the virus). However, they are not without controversy, and such passes are causing an increasing number of public places – from bars and movie theaters to Christmas markets – to become isolated, with access for the vaccinated but limited for the unvaccinated.

Merkel meeting

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting Thursday with the prime ministers of 16 countries to discuss her country’s national response to what she yesterday called a “dramatic” situation.

German states were largely free to define their own Covid response and public health measures, leading to different actions depending on the state of the pandemic, although the government sought interim powers to enforce blockades and other restrictive measures in high-infection areas.

The current state of emergency in Germany, which has allowed the government to tighten its grip on public health issues, expires on November 25.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures to the weekly cabinet meeting on April 13, 2021 at the chancellery in Berlin.

JOHN McDOUGALL | AFP | Getty Images

The fact that Germany is seeing such a sharp rise in incidence is alarming, especially given that the country has been widely praised for its early strategy to deal with the Covid outbreak.

Widespread testing and tracking and a modern health network have helped the country keep mortality rates much lower than its neighbors, although the gap has narrowed. To date, there have been more than 5.1 million cases of the virus and nearly 100,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. By comparison, France has over 7.3 million cases and just over 118,000 deaths.

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