PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - Europe's reported coronavirus cases more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday (Oct 22), according to a Reuters tally, with many Southern European countries reporting their highest single-day cases this week.
Europe reported 100,000 daily cases for the first time on Oct 12.
Europe has so far reported about 7.8 million total coronavirus cases and about 247,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
European countries like Italy, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia reported their highest single-day coronavirus cases on Thursday.
Europe as a region is reporting more daily cases than India, Brazil and the United States combined. The increase is partly explained by far more testing than was done in the first wave of the pandemic.
The global coronavirus tally stands at about 41.4 million cases and about 1.1 million deaths.
According to a Reuters tally, Wednesday saw the highest total of infections reported in a single day across the world, at 422,835.
As of now, Europe accounts for nearly 19 per cent of global cases and about 22 per cent of global deaths, according to Reuters tally.
In Western Europe, France, which is reporting the highest seven-day average of new cases in Europe with 25,480 infections per day, reported an all-time high of 41,622 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Thursday, according to French health authorities.
To slow the spread of infection, France's Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday announced widening of a coronavirus curfew to more than two thirds of its population.
Another Western European country Netherlands reported more than 9,000 in 24 hours, a new record, data released by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) on Thursday showed.
Germany, which reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time on Thursday, extended travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and Italian regions including Rome.
Hospitals across Europe remain under strain. Even though the it remains well below levels at the peak of the crisis six months ago in the region, Covid-19 hospital admissions and occupancy are going up again.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) expert said on Monday said Europe and North America should follow the example of Asian states by persevering with anti-Covid measures and quarantining anyone who comes into contact with infected people.
Ireland became the first country on the continent to re-impose a full-on lockdown on Thursday, with its five-million-strong weary population ordered to stay home for six weeks, and non-essential businesses told to shut up shop.
"The infection rates, hospital occupancy rates but also death rates are rising all over Europe," warned Andrea Ammon, head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, in an interview with the BBC.
In Dublin, resident Jo Finn told AFP a lot of friends were struggling with mental health issues.
"Because of this second lockdown we can't socialise, we can't meet up," Finn said during a muted morning rush hour.
In France, meanwhile, a nighttime curfew that had already been in place in Paris and eight other cities was extended to wide swathes of the country, more than doubling the number of people affected to 46 million.
"The health situation of our country continues to deteriorate," Prime Minister Jean Castex warned as France registered a record 41,622 new cases over 24 hours on Thursday, and 165 deaths.
Germany, Denmark, Portugal and Italy all registered their highest one-day tallies since the pandemic began, and a slew of other European countries are voicing alarm at rapidly rising infections.
Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre, said "the overall situation has become very serious".
German health experts said it was still possible to combat the outbreak by observing recently-toughened rules on distancing and gatherings.
For its part, Italy ordered curfews in regions that cover the capital Rome and business hub Milan.
And Portugal has banned people from travelling between cities for five days starting October 30, which includes a bank holiday.
Greece meanwhile declared a night curfew in Athens, Thessaloniki in the north and other areas.
Politicians meanwhile continued to be hit by the virus.
Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn - widely praised for his calm stewardship during the pandemic - tested positive and went into home isolation.
In Belgium, which has one of the worst rates of infections per person, Foreign Minister and former prime minister Sophie Wilmes is being treated in intensive care after testing positive.
"She is conscious and she can communicate," her spokeswoman said.
As stories of individual suffering emerge from the latest upsurge of cases in Europe, grim statistics are also stacking up - Spain becoming the sixth country to have registered more than one million infections.
Elsewhere in Europe, Swiss officials voiced alarm as infection rates there are now doubling every week, while Croatia's government blamed "irresponsible behaviour" for another record day of new cases.
Cyprus joined a growing list of countries imposing curfews in its main cities, with Poland also promising to expand its restrictions.