EU urges swift, united action as Covid second wave rolls across Europe

Madrid Desk, Oct 28 (efe-epa).- Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said the Covid-19 situation across the European Union was “very worrying” and urged member states to start preparing infrastructure for an eventual vaccine and to work closely on data sharing.

“All the data points to a rapid expansion of the virus in all of Europe,” the president of the EU’s Commission said. “We find ourselves deep in a second wave,” she added.

“Last week alone there were one million confirmed infections. In the next few weeks, these numbers will continue to grow, and very quickly.”

Currently, Belgium has the worst infection rate per capita in the EU states with a 14-day cumulative incidence rate of 1,390 cases per 100,000 people.

It is followed by the Czech Republic (1,379), Luxembourg (760), Slovenia (732) the Netherlands (694), Liechtenstein (687), France (629), Slovakia (455) and Spain (446), according to the European Center for Disease Control.

Von der Leyen said EU member states needed to share data in areas like ICU capacity in case there was a need for cross-border patient care as well as an EU approach to rapid antigen testing, with mutual recognition of the tests and test results.

She added that member states should work on a passenger location format so that families and couples kept apart by restrictions across the continent could be reunited.

“No member state will safely emerge from the crisis until everyone does,” von der Leyen added.

The remarks from the commission chief came as a host of European nations logged record daily surges of Covid-19 infections.

In Belgium, authorities are concerned by the Covid-19 daily death toll, which has crept up towards levels not registered in the first wave in spring.

Authorities on Monday reported 100 deaths in the space of 24 hours, a figure that has not been matched since the end of April.

Yves van Laethem, a representative of Belgium’s coronavirus strategy committee, on Wednesday said: “Like every day, like in every press conference, we can’t say anything different: all the indicators are in red.

“The figures are going to continue to rise at least for a few days.”

The country’s foreign minister Sophia Wilmès, who has previously served as PM, on Wednesday announced she had been discharged from ICU, where she had been treated for Covid-19.

Having weathered the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic relatively well compared to their Western European counterparts, the central European nations of Poland and the Czech Republic are currently in the eye of a second wave.

Polish health authorities on Wednesday said they had detected a further 18,820 cases in the previous 24 hour period, a record so far in the pandemic. The country’s overall caseload is nearing 300,000 and the virus has reached the upper elections of the political elite.

President Andrzej Duda remains in self-quarantine having tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend.

Across the border, Czech health authorities logged a total of 15,663 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours as the infection numbers in the country of 10.7 million continue to rise.

But the interior minister Jan Hamacek nonetheless offered a cautiously optimistic message that the second wave of coronavirus was slowing.

“If this pattern continues, that is, if the infection numbers are going up but the growth rate is lower, that means we’re on the right path,” he told local media.

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