Coronavirus: Cases rising

Covid-19 cases continue to spike in Europe

WHO Europe's regional director Hans Kluge on Thursday urged people to prepare to live with the Covid-19 virus, and not rely on a vaccine to bring an end to the pandemic.
Health workers collecting test samples at a Covid-19 test station in Hochfelln, Germany, on Aug 19, 2020.
Health workers collecting test samples at a Covid-19 test station in Hochfelln, Germany, on Aug 19, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN • Coronavirus infections continue to flare up in Europe, where Germany recorded more than 1,000 new cases for the third consecutive day and Spain reported its highest number of daily infections since April.

Germany yesterday reported 1,707 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since the peak of the pandemic in April. The country has fared better than many European neighbours in suppressing the virus so far, but like elsewhere, the number of cases has jumped significantly over the summer holidays. Schools already resumed last week in parts of Germany.

Faced with the surge in cases, Germany earlier this month introduced free, mandatory tests for anyone returning from areas deemed at high risk for Covid-19 infections. And Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this week that there could be no further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

France on Wednesday recorded new coronavirus cases at the fastest daily rate since May. Almost 3,800 Covid-19 infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours, said the Health Ministry's DGS public health division.

French President Emmanuel Macron ruled out another nationwide lockdown, saying the country will rely on local strategies to curb a resurgence of the virus.

On Wednesday, Spain recorded 6,700 new infections in 24 hours, bringing the total to more than 370,000, the highest caseload in Western Europe. The toll rose above 380,000 last night.

Ukraine yesterday also reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases, exceeding 2,000 new infections for the first time.

Nevertheless, Europe can combat the pandemic without full lockdowns now that the authorities are better prepared and have gained knowledge on how to fight it in recent months, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

"With the basic nationwide and additional targeted measures, we are in a much better position to stamp out these localised virus flare-ups," said Dr Hans Kluge, head of the WHO's European branch.



A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'Virus cases continue to spike in Europe'. Subscribe