Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Covid-19: Record infections in Czech Republic as Europe struggles to stop spread

Coronavirus infection rates in Europe are soaring as the Czech Republic have hit a new record for the second time this week, the health ministry said.

It announced that the daily tally jumped to 22,936 on Friday, almost 500 more than the previous record set on Tuesday.

The country’s infection rate has risen to 929 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

In a worrying sign, 110 people died on Thursday, the ministry said, with the daily death toll surpassing 100 for the first time since April.

Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full Covid-19 lockdown, it said on Friday as neighbouring Germany warned it may follow suit.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for half of global cases and deaths.

In the Netherlands, crowds of several hundred rioters in Rotterdam torched cars, set off fireworks and threw rocks at police during protests against Covid-19 measures. Police responded with warning shots and water cannons.

Authorities had reported a record of more than 23,000 new cases on Thursday, well above the previous daily high of 13,000 reached in December 2020.

The Czech government has approved new restrictions to tackle the surge, targeting the unvaccinated in an effort to increase a vaccination rate that is below the European Union average.

Starting on Monday, most unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed to show negative coronavirus tests in order to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers, museums and similar facilities or use hotels.

Only people who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will remain eligible.

Overall, the nation of 10.7 million has registered almost two million cases with 32,005 deaths.

Russia

Russia’s record high coronavirus death toll has persisted for a second straight day, as the number of new infections declined.

The state coronavirus task force reported 1,254 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, matching Friday’s tally.

The task force also reported 37,120 new confirmed cases.

The daily new infections in recent weeks appear to have a downward trend but still remain higher than during previous surges of the virus.

The high number of infections and deaths come amid low vaccination rates and lax public attitudes towards taking precautions.

About 40 per cent of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine months before most of the world.

In total, the coronavirus task force has reported nearly 9.3 million confirmed infections and 262,843 Covid-19 deaths, by far the highest death toll in Europe.

Some experts believe the true figure is even higher.

Reports by Russia’s statistical service Rosstat which tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality.

They say 462,000 people with Covid-19 died between April 2020 and September of this year.

Russian officials have said the task force only includes deaths for which Covid-19 was the main cause, and uses data from medical facilities.

Rosstat uses wider criteria for counting virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where registering a death is finalised. – AP/Reuters

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