Coronavirus crisis as fresh wave sends EU cases skyrocketing – deaths to increase

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New COVID-19 cases have increased by 64.3 percent as the more infectious Delta variant ravages the bloc. It said the surge was due to the “relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions and increasing spread of the Delta variant”. But the EU agency stressed that the huge jump in cases hasn’t coincided with an increase in hospitalisations or occupancy of intensive care beds.

With the latest wave threatening to disrupt the bloc’s vaccine rollout, the ECDC said young people are most affected.

It said most new cases were reported among 15 to 24-year-olds, with limited increases in people aged over 65.

The ECDC said: “The current continuing deterioration of the epidemiological situation in many countries is expected to continue given the rapid increase in the Delta variant.”

Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and the Netherlands are grappling with some of the largest outbreaks in the EU.

All of the nations have reported 300 or more cases per 100,000 citizens over the last 14 days.

Cases are currently increasing in 20 EU countries, with the ECDC saying it expected to see 420 cases per 100,000 for the week ending on August 1.

By the week after, the number of new cases is expected to rise above 620 per 100,000.

As a result of the soaring cases, deaths are expected to increase in Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the Netherlands.

Currently, hospitalisations remain stable in most countries.

But the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 is expected to exceed 10 per 1,000,000 people again.

This is compared with 6.8 last week, according to the EU agency.

Last month, the Stockholm-based ECDC warned that the Delta variant – first detected in India – was on track to account for 90 percent of new cases by the end of August.

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The increase in cases has seen national and regional governments move to enforce new restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Catalonian government has announced that residents and visitors in Barcelona will have to observe a curfew because of more than 400 cases by 10,000 people over the past seven days.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has apologised for lifting restrictions too soon and since reimposed the measures.

“What we thought would be possible turned out not to be in practice,” he said on Monday.

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“We had poor judgment, which we regret and for which we apologise.”

And French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled swathes of new measures, including mandatory health certificates in cafes, bars and restaurants from next month.

He hopes the plans will encourage a drive to convince “the entire population to get vaccinated”.

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