Europe faces a “gloomy winter” due to COVID-19

Thursday, 2021-11-18 10:11:36
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Residents and tourists wear masks to prevent COVID-19 infection in Paris, France. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
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NDO - The approaching winter will become gloomier as the continent is struggling with a new wave of COVID-19 with numerous “sad records”. On the European epidemic map, 10 members of the European Union (EU) are labelled “very worrying” while 13 other countries were marked “worrying”.

According to the assessment of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the epidemic situation is at an alarming level in Central and Eastern European countries while Mediterranean countries are less affected.

However, all EU members have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Last week, the number of new cases across the continent set a new record with nearly 19,000 cases, up 15% from the level seven days earlier. The largest economy in the region, Germany, has emerged as a new hot spot, when the number of cases exceeded 5 million, the disease map was dark red.

Consecutive numbers surpassing new highs in serveral countries raise concerns about new epidemic waves in the coming winter. In order to urgently respond to a new outbreak of the disease in the “Old Continent”, a series of additional, stricter, and even criticised as ‘outrageous” restrictive measures have been applied by many countries.

The Netherlands has closed restaurants, pubs, clubs, supermarkets and shops in the evenings; Germany and Belgium implement the remote working regime. In particular, Austria has applied a stronger and unprecedented measure, which is “quarantine” of unvaccinated people. Mandatory mask wearing has been restored and tightened in many places.

According to medical experts, there are a number of causes leading to a new wave of epidemics throughout Europe. First of all, the weather factor, when winter comes, the temperature drops, making the disease more serious because the virus is easily spread. However, the combined coverage rate of all vaccines against COVID-19 was mentioned the most.

In fact, countries in Southern and Western Europe, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and France, have widespread vaccination coverage. Vaccination rates in Eastern European countries are still quite low. Even within countries, there are large regional disparities, for example between western and eastern Germany. German officials have admitted that the new cases in the country are mainly attributable to the fact that many people are still hesitant to be vaccinated.

However, it is a fact that many countries with high vaccine coverage rates, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, are still classified as “very worrying”. Experts also pointed out that, in addition to the fear of vaccination, people's subjectivity is also a major cause of the new wave of this epidemic.

Therefore, the strict implementation of restrictive measures remains an important factor. Facing the prospect of a “gloomy winter” because of COVID, many European countries have restored and strengthened measures to limit, blockade and close schools, recommending safe behaviours in the context of the pandemic.

LONG QUAN
Tranlated by NDO