A fresh wave of Covid-19 cases has engulfed Europe with a vengeance as a number of countries are seeing record numbers of daily infections leading to partial lockdowns and placing more restrictions on unvaccinated people.
Germany broke a new record on Thursday, as it reported over 65,000 new cases, with health officials warning that the true number of cases could be twofold or more.
The neighboring Netherlands, reported over 20,000 new cases on Wednesday, a new record for the third consecutive day while in France, a fifth wave of the pandemic is underway, as the number of new cases surpassed 20,000 on Wednesday, a level not reached since Aug. 25 according to Reuters.
Netherlands and Austria have imposed partial lockdowns, while other countries are desperately trying to avoid implementing full or medium-scale lockdown measures similar to 2020 owing to the economic harm they can do. They are instead opting for more Covid rules and Covid passports.
In Belgium, new Covid measures have been announced, mandating working from home and indoor masks.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo is trying to avoid another lockdown. He told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro on Wednesday that while there was an increase in cases, it was not as dramatic as previous waves owing to widespread vaccination.
Nonetheless, he added, “pressure is mounting in our hospitals so we have to be prudent, but prudent measures should enable us to avoid having to close down certain parts of our society or economy.”
Covid passes or passports are quickly becoming the norm throughout Europe, as they state an individual’s Covid status (whether one is vaccinated or recovered from a virus).
Germany’s Angela Merkel is meeting the country’s 16 state premiers on Thursday to deliberate over her country’s national response to what she described a day before as a “dramatic” situation.
Germany’s states have been mostly free to determine their own Covid responses and public health measures, resulting in varying actions from the pandemic state to state.
Germany’s state of emergency, which allowed the government to have tighter control over public health issues, is set to lapse on Nov. 25.
The recent case count on Thursday of 65,371 new cases, is the first time since the pandemic started that the number has surpassed 60,000 in a single day, Deutsche Welle noted. It also reported that Lothar Wieler, the head of the country’s infectious disease agency the Robert Koch Institute, said that the true number of cases could be much higher.
During an online discussion with Michael Kretschmer, the state premier of Saxony, Wieler said, “The under-reporting of the true numbers is increasing,” which has the highest seven-day incidence rate of Covid in Germany.
Wieler noted that he believes there were “twice or three times as many” cases a day than were actually being reported. “We are in an emergency. Whoever refuses to see that is making a big mistake,” he said on Wednesday.