Share article:
Share article:

Most of Europe red in new corona map

Credit: ECDC

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published on Friday a new COVID-19 risk assessment for the EU/EEA and UK. In the latest map on the transmission of the coronavirus, most EU countries are coloured red.

“The continuing increases in COVID-19 infections across the EU/EEA pose a major threat to public health, with most countries having a highly concerning epidemiological situation,” commented Andrea Ammon, Director of ECDC. “The impact in terms of pressure on healthcare services and mortality has become increasingly evident.”

With high levels of community transmission, the protection of vulnerable individuals becomes harder, and it is inevitable that more of them will develop severe disease, she added.

“Strong public health action is necessary to revert an imminent risk of healthcare systems being overwhelmed and unable to provide accessible, safe, and qualitative care.”

In its updated risk assessment, ECDC’s key message is that the current epidemiological situation is a serious concern as it poses an increasing risk of transmission, requiring immediate, targeted public health action. The map shows the situation a week ago, during weeks 41 – 42 (5 – 18 October).

Reported test positivity has been steadily increasing since August and has shown a marked escalation in recent weeks, pointing to a real increase in rates of viral transmission, rather than just a rise in reported cases attributable to increased testing.

Group immunity is still far away besides the uncertainty if it is permanent. “Vulnerability to infection remains high, as available data from seroprevalence studies indicate that the level of immunity in the population is <15% in most areas.”

At the European Council last week, EU leaders welcomed the progress achieved so far on overall coordination at EU level against COVID-19, including the recommendation adopted by the Council, following a proposal by the European Commission on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement.

But more coordination is required and the EU leaders agreed to continue the coordination effort, regarding among others quarantine regulations, cross-border contact tracing and testing strategies,

Asked by The Brussels Times at today’s press conference whether the Commission is monitoring the implementation by the member states of the Council recommendation, a spokesperson replied that it was first of all up to the member states themselves to do the follow-up. He reminded them that they have an obligation of notifying each-other and the Commission of any measures at least 48 hours in advance.

“We are of course also following-up the measures but we are still in an early phase and don’t have a complete overview of how the member states have adapted their measures to the recommendation since it was adopted,” he explained. Measures announced by the member states are also published on the Commission’s “Reopen” website so that citizens are well-informed.

Belgium is one of the hardest hit countries and the country announced on Friday the tightening of measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht warned that “this week, we will probably move towards 20,000 cases per day.”

A measure not yet re-introduced is the compulsory wearing of masks in the public space; some weeks ago, when the number of daily infections started to increase, it was suddenly relaxed in Belgium. In a string of messages, Marius Gilbert, an epidemiologist at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), referred to the mask as the “coronavirus’ condom”.

M. Apelblat
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...