Covid-19 in Europe: what do the latest figures tell us?
By Ian Jones, PA
Despite a well-publicised increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Spain, there is currently little evidence of a Europe-wide “second wave” of coronavirus, with most countries recording weekly rates that are either broadly flat, falling, or have ticked upwards slightly from a very low level.
Over the past four weeks, the seven-day rate of new confirmed cases in Spain has risen steadily from 6.1 per 100,000 people to 10.6, 21.4 and 32.1.
While this is a clear and steady increase, the rate is still well below the levels in Spain at the peak of the outbreak, when nearly 120 new cases per 100,000 people were being recorded a week in late March.
In France, the seven-day rate for the past four weeks has stayed at a relatively low level: 6.0, 5.3, 7.4 and 9.6.
There is a similar picture in Germany, where the numbers are 3.2, 2.9, 3.7 and 5.0.
It’s true that in both these countries the rate has risen during the second half of the month – but the levels remain below that of Spain.
The latest figures, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, show that in some countries the weekly rate has been broadly flat and at a very low level right across July.
Examples include Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Norway.
Some countries have seen a decrease, such as Portugal where the weekly rate has dropped from 25.6 to 18.0 to 14.7 over the last three seven-day periods.
In Sweden the rate has also fallen, from 47.8 in the seven days to July 8 to 13.0 in the seven days to July 29.
Belgium is the one country in western Europe that might be experiencing a similar sort of rise in cases to Spain.
Over the past four weeks, its seven-day rate of new confirmed cases has increased from 5.3 per 100,000 to 8.1, 13.2 and 20.9.
South-east Europe is another area where the rates have been rising.
In Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, the weekly rate is now above 40 new cases per 100,000 people – some of the highest rates in Europe.
So far this trend does not show signs of spreading to neighbouring countries, however.
As for the UK, the weekly rate – as with most of western Europe – remains at a comparatively low level with under 10 new cases per 100,000 people.
There were 7.6 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 29, up slightly on 6.7 in the previous week but down from 9.3 at the very start of the month.