TNO employees work during the opening of a COVID-19 testing site in Amsterdam on September 30th. Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP / Getty Images
After successfully tackling the first wave of infections and deaths, Europe is now in the midst of a second coronavirus wave as it walks into winter.
UNITED KINGDOM: England’s largest study of coronavirus infections has shown that the spread of the disease may be slowing, according to a team at Imperial College London that analyzed samples from 84,000 people taken between September 18 and 26.
The study suggests that the final R value (the number of reproductions) went from 1.7 to 1.1 – but a range of 0.7 to 1.5 means that an exact number is difficult to estimate.
While the results provide early evidence that measures to control the infection are working, “the prevalence of the infection is the highest we’ve seen,” Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission Study (REACT 1) said.
However, the results indicated an increase in the spread of the virus in the community. The study estimates that 1 in 200 people across England have the virus, which is 0.55% of the population.
This is an increase from the previous round of testing from mid-August to early September when the number was 0.13% of the population.
Netherlands: More than 10,000 people in the Netherlands died of Covid-19 in the first wave of the pandemic. This is shown by new statistics published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on Thursday.
From March to June there were 7,797 deaths with a doctor listing Covid-19 as the cause of death and another 2,270 with Covid-19 listed as a suspected cause of death, a total of 10,067.
That toll is significantly higher than the less comprehensive figures from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, which reported 6,086 deaths in the same months March to June and a total of 6,406 deaths on Wednesday.
Germany: Germany lifted its blanket warning against traveling to all countries outside the European Union, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.
Germany imposed a global travel warning in early March when the coronavirus outbreak hit Italy and lifted travel restrictions for most European countries in June.
Spain: The government announced new coronavirus restrictions last night that would put the capital Madrid in some kind of lockdown.
The new restrictions require people to stay at home except for work, class, and legal obligations or because of extreme circumstances. Shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50% and close earlier.
Meetings are limited to no more than six people in public or private spaces.
Spain reported 11,016 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. In Madrid alone, 1,586 new infections were reported, representing more than 40% of the national increase.
Italy: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he would ask parliament to extend the country’s Covid-19 state of emergency until the end of January.
During an impromptu press conference in Caserta, Conte said the Covid-19 situation requires “maximum attention” even though the “spread is under control”.
Italy was the first major European country to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak and one of the first countries to impose a strict national lockdown.