Central Europe hit by a new wave

The countries of Central Europe are crumbling under a new epidemic wave of Covid-19 which raises fears of a sharp increase in the number of people infected with the virus on the eve of winter.

All the health authorities of the states of the region (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia), relayed by the local media, are sounding the alarm bells on the advance of the virus at breakneck speed, calling for measures to be taken such as last spring: social distance, wearing a mask in closed places and health pass for access to public places.

In Poland, 12,493 cases of the coronavirus and 19 deaths were recorded on Sunday, announced the Ministry of Health, which calls on the population to be vigilant, in particular in Warsaw and its region as well as in Lublin (south-east of the country) which are experiencing the highest number of people infected with the virus.

The death toll in Poland could climb from 76,000 today to 88,850 by the end of the year. However, the Polish government excludes for the moment a semi containment as in last spring.

In Hungary, the situation is also alarming, the country has recorded an average of 7,000 cases per day for several weeks. Hungary remains the most bereaved country in Central Europe and even in the world, in proportion to its population (nearly 10 million souls). It would record 36,000 deaths caused by Covid-19 by the end of the year, against 30,000 at present.

Despite an untenable health situation, the Hungarian authorities do not intend to take any health restrictions. Prime Minister Victor Orban has let it be known that he does not intend to impose severe restrictions, preferring to focus on vaccination.

In the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Health identified on Sunday 5,736 new cases of Covid-19, i.e. 700 more compared to the previous week. In addition, 40 people have died every day for several weeks as a result of the virus. The Czech Ministries of Defense and Health have agreed that the military will continue to provide assistance in dealing with the pandemic, the Prague newspaper Radiozurnal reported.

The collaboration of the military will be extended mainly within the framework of the national smart quarantine project and the government management team until the end of January 2022.

In Slovakia, a country of 5.4 million inhabitants, the virus is circulating rapidly with an average of 500 people infected per day. The government calls on the population to respect health measures but does not intend to take severe measures such as those adopted last spring.

Slovakia has 12,800 deaths from the Covid-19 virus, a figure that would rise to 17,300 by the end of the year. According to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the Institute for Public Health Statistics at the University of Washington, the new wave of the epidemic is expected to peak before the end of the year in each of these countries. .

According to these projections, in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, the number of patients will reach its maximum at the end of November, the peak of hospitalizations will be reached in mid-December and the peak of deaths around Christmas. However, this fall epidemic wave will likely be less fatal than the previous one in spring 2021.

At the same time, the vaccination campaign is continuing in the four countries, members of the European Union. To date, Hungary has vaccinated 58 pc of the population, against 56 pc in the Czech Republic, 52 pc in Poland and 44 pc in Slovakia, indicate data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Vaccination coverage in these countries is lower than in Western Europe, where it reaches 65 pc of the population in Germany, 69 pc in Italy and 72 pc in France.

SL (with MAP)

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