As economies opened up and countries bustled with activity believing that they are well past the worst phase of the pandemic, many countries have started reporting a surge in infections once again.
The rising case count in many countries is a cause for concern as cases are soaring at places despite high rates of vaccination.
On November 21, new Covid-19 cases in Europe jumped to a record high of 3.3 lakh, according to Johns Hopkins University data of the seven-day rolling average.
WHO regional director Dr Hans Kluge has warned that 500,000 more deaths could be recorded by March next year unless urgent steps are taken. “Covid-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region,” he told the BBC, adding that the onset of winter, insufficient vaccine coverage and more transmissible Delta variant are leading to a spike in cases.
Here are some of the countries from Europe and elsewhere which are witnessing a renewed Covid-19 surge now.
Austria recently imposed the fourth national Covid-19 lockdown, becoming the first western European country to reimpose restrictions in the face of a renewed spike in infections.
The Austrian government had imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated previously but imposed a full lockdown following a surge in cases.
“It is a situation where we have to react now,” Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told ORF TV on Sunday night. “A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers (of infections) here.”
In neighbouring Germany, case numbers are also soaring, with the elderly being particularly affected. The seven-day incidence rate—the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week—hit 399.8 on Tuesday, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases shows.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against travel to Germany because of the Covid spike. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the country’s current Covid curbs are not enough to stop the surge.
Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn has also called for more stringent restrictions. “Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead,” Spahn said at a press conference.
France has said that the country is experiencing a fifth Covid-19 wave as cases increase at a lightning speed. “The fifth wave is starting at lightning speed,” government spokesman Gabrial Attal told the media.
On Saturday, hospitals reported a total of 7,974 Covid-19 patients in their care, with 1,333 of them in intensive treatment, news agency Associated Press reported.
The health ministry reported 30,454 new cases on Tuesday, pushing the seven-day moving average of new infections over 20,000 for the first time since August 24.
“[This] is a very major increase in the infection rate, which shows that we really are, unfortunately, in a fifth wave of the epidemic,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Netherlands has been making news for heated protests against a partial lockdown imposed following a spike in infections.
The number of Covid-19 patients in Dutch hospitals has swelled to its highest level since May in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the country registered around 23,000 new infections in 24 hours. Weekly numbers from the national health institute showed 153,957 new cases were registered in seven days, a 39 percent rise compared to the week before.
The Dutch health authority has said almost a third of all operating theatres had been closed to limit the use of intensive care beds and deadlines for critical operations can’t be met in about a fifth of all the hospitals.
Though cases are somewhat on the decline in Russia, the number of Covid-19 deaths is still very high. Scientists have said that lax public attitudes and low vaccination rates are leading to the surge in deaths.
About 40% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Russia’s Covid-19 task force has reported over 9.3 million confirmed infections and 265,336 Covid-19 deaths.
Vietnam has also been experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections in recent times. The country reported 39,126 fresh cases on Tuesday, including 28,000 that had been detected earlier. It also confirmed 167 new Covid-19 deaths.
The country is in the middle of a fourth wave of the pandemic in which 1.11 million people have been infected so far.