COVID-19 European Bulletin 5

EU statistics show Since 31 December 2019 and as of 20 May 2020, 4 861 456 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions and testing strategies in the affected countries) have been reported, including 322 483 deaths.

Europe: Europe: 1 740 551 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are Russia (299 941), United Kingdom (248 818), Spain (232 037), Italy (226 699) and Germany (176 007).

Statistics from Johns Hopkins University updated on 20th May show the United States has the highest number of deaths in the world from COVID-19 with 90,3347. The US mortality rate (deaths per 100 confirmed cases) is 6.0%. The figures also reveal the death toll and mortality rate in Europe’s richest countries:

UK – 34,876 deaths; 14.1%

Italy – 32,007; 14.2%

France – 28,242; 15.7%

Spain – 27,709; 12.0%

Belgium – 9,080; 16.3%

Germany – 8,003; 4.5%

 

Happened

Wednesday 6th May

UN humanitarian affairs office says only about half of the $2 billion in emergency funding it requested in March has arrived, adds that it needs nearly $7 billion to help the most vulnerable countries.

World Health Organisation warns that countries that ease lockdown too quickly run the risk of new waves of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Thursday 7th May

EU leaders warn that the bloc is facing the worst recession of its history, a 7.4% drop in economic output expected.

Germany begins phased reopening of economy, with schools, day care centres and some restaurants set to reopen with social distancing remaining in place.

Italy sees COVID-19 deaths at a two-month low.

France plans to end lockdown on 11th May.

Spain announces investigation into the 1st May closing ceremony of country’s IFEMA field hospital, which appeared to violate Spain’s emergency decree and social distancing rules. Over 1,000 people attended and photographs reveal that social distancing was not observed.

Friday 8th May

UK now has the largest number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Europe at over 30,000.

The Conservative government also reports that Black residents of England and Wales are more than four times more likely to die of COVID-19 than White residents; people of South Asian descent are up to 80% more likely to die of the disease.

Victory in Europe Day is marked across the continent.

Sunday 10th May

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation to announce a change in government policy from “stay at home” to “stay alert” as he encourages those who cannot work from home to go back to work, avoiding public transport when possible.

However, Johnson’s policy appears only to apply to England as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland‘s devolved parliaments remain committed to lockdown.

The Johnson government announces that those arriving at UK airports are to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

Monday 11th May

France eases some restriction, introduces the mandatory wearing of masks on public transport and in secondary schools.

Half of Spain moves to the next phase of a national plan to ease lockdown with restaurants and shops operating at reduced capacity; museums, gyms and hotels also reopen after almost two months. Madrid and Barcelona, the country’s two largest cities, remain on lockdown, not yet meeting the criteria for opening up nonessential businesses.

World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “To protect lives and livelihoods, a slow, steady lifting of lockdowns is key to both stimulating economies while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified.”

France reports almost four times as many deaths than the previous day before, as it reopens its economy.

Russia experiences a surge in COVID infections, but President Vladimir Putin announces a phased relaxing of restrictions.

Tuesday 12th May

In Germany, COVID infections rise as the country eases lockdown measures.

Wednesday 13th May

World Health Organisation warns the coronavirus “may never go away” and could become endemic in communities similar to influenza, as the global death toll from COVID-19 nears 300,000.

Saturday 16th May

In Belgium, medical staff turn their backs on Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès at Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels in a protest against the government’s recruitment of unqualified staff members and to demand more recognition for the work of medical professionals.

Italy announces just over 150 daily deaths, the lowest number in over two months.

Monday 18th May

Italy further eases its lockdown with shops, hair salons, restaurants and bars reopening. From June, travellers from within Europe will be able to enter the country without quarantine.

Public Masses begin again under new social distancing guidelines. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte describes the moves as a “calculated risk”.

Anti-lockdown protests lead to arrests in Germany, the UK and Poland.

Global carbon emissions are expected to decline in 2020 by a record 8% due to COVID-19. Climate scientists say that the figure is still an insufficient drop carbon dioxide levels, now at about 415 parts per million.

2020 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded.

UK – Extinction Rebellion stages a socially-distanced protest in London with a sign reading ”COVID Today, Climate Tomorrow, Act Now”.

Tuesday 19th May

In Germany, at least 70 refugees at a shelter near Bonn test positive for COVID-19. German coronavirus cases have spiked as the country has eased restrictions.

Germany and France propose a European Union fund of 500 billion euros to aid in the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. The money would be dispersed as grants for the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Wednesday 20th May

Spain – the government confirms that the wearing of face masks will be compulsory from Thursday 21st May in enclosed areas and on the streets when the required two metre social distancing protocols cannot be followed.

 

Happening

Wednesday 20th May

EU Ministers of Tourism video conference to look at ways of easing travel restrictions during pandemic.

Saturday 23rd May

EU Pledging conference, aiming to secure “€7.5 billion in initial funding to kick-start the global cooperation” on COVID-19 to conclude.

Friday 22nd May

Various UK Select Committees – Justice, Public Accounts, Science and Technology, Home Affairs – take oral evidence on the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday 25th May

UK parliament begins Spring recess.

Monday 1st June

EU Green Week events begin.

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