(Update: adds information from Spain)
Madrid Desk, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- Spain became the first western European country on Wednesday to report more than one million confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Elsewhere in Europe, a study in the United Kingdom has revealed the toll of lockdown on people’s mental health, Germany’s health minister tested positive for the virus and record infection rates were reported in the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland.
More than one million coronavirus infections have been detected in the country since the start of the outbreak, the first western European country to cross this threshold.
Health authorities reported 16,973 new cases on Wednesday, including 6,114 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 1,005,295.
There have been 34,366 deaths in Spain from the virus, after 156 were recorded in the past day.
The country has been the epicenter of infections in Europe on several occasions, currently led by its capital Madrid which has been put back into partial lockdown and where 2,235 daily infections were reported.
Czech health officials detected a further 11,984 Covid-19 cases in the country. There are 4,064 people receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19, some 634 of those in a serious condition, authorities added.
Having weathered the first wave of the pandemic relatively well compared to the likes of Spain and Italy, the central European nation, which has a population of around 10.6 million, has in the second wave been forced to close schools, bars, restaurants and placed limits on social gatherings.
The Czech Republic is reporting a two-week cumulative incidence rate of 905 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Poland, which escaped the first wave of the pandemic relatively unscathed and without imposing harsh restrictions, reported more than 10,000 new cases in the past 24 hours as the country grapples with a sharp rise in infections in recent days.
The rate of infection is currently at 158.2 cases per 100,000 people. Nearly 10,000 people with Covid-19 symptoms are being treated in hospitals, with 757 showing severe breathing difficulties requiring intensive care.
Poland is experiencing a major spike in contagion after having avoided massive infection rates in the spring while much of the continent was under lockdown.
The country took 216 days to reach the threshold of 100,000 Covid-19 infections, but it has taken only 17 days for that tally to double.
A national lockdown imposed in March had a “major impact” on the mental health of people living in the country with a rise in suicidal thoughts, according to a study led by the University of Glasgow.
The research, published Wednesday in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that young people and women were most at risk of developing mental disorders during the restrictions.