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Covid-19 infections in Europe appear to be slowing after new blockades

Nickelino Red Cross staff in full PPE during the transport of patients with COVID-19 on November 16, 2020 in Turin, Italy.

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LONDON – The second wave of coronavirus in Europe has begun to show signs of slowing down, but experts have warned that it is too early to calm down.

European countries have been battling a second wave of infections since September, but the latest figures show a stabilization of new cases in Germany, Spain and Italy and a decline in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

This comes after new locks and severe social restrictions were introduced in October in many European countries in an attempt to control the second wave; the latest figures suggest that these steps seem to work.

“These countries and some other parts of continental Europe may be close to turning again, or they may have already done so,”

; Florian Hense, an economist in Berenberg, said on Tuesday.

For example, Belgium, which has experienced some of the highest daily Covid-19 infections in Europe, reports lower numbers. Daily infections peaked on October 30 at close to 24,000, while there were 4,659 new cases on Monday.

“So far, the trend is good,” Simon Delicour, a bioengineer and research associate at Universite Libre de Bruxelles, told CNBC on Monday, citing Belgium.

The country’s government twice tightened restrictions last month to deal with the jump in cases after the summer, and people now work from home and are unable to visit the homes of family and friends, for example.

Delicur told CNBC that these moves have begun to affect the number of cases and the latest set of restrictions should help further reduce new infections.

However, he said: “It is too early to claim victory” and added that any easing of the current restrictions must be done carefully to avoid a third wave.

Meanwhile in Germany, which has been locked to some extent since November 2,, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the restrictions were stabilizing the number of cases “somewhat but too slowly”.

Europe’s largest economy reported 10,824 new cases on Monday, up from 16,947 the day before.

There are 27,354 new cases in Italy on Monday, compared to 40,092 on Friday. The southern European country also tightened restrictions earlier this month, but they are still not as severe as in the first wave, when schools and universities were also closed.

Mixed picture across Europe

However, Hense from Berenberg warned that “the picture remains mixed with still high or still rising levels of infection in other countries.”

This is the case in the Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. They have the highest 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 population in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

For example, in Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, the figures still do not show a clear sign that new infections are coming down, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Monday, the parties reported 1,325 and 5,407 Covid cases, respectively, compared to 713 on Friday and 7,355 on Sunday, according to JHU.

Despite this mixed picture, some are optimistic that the latest set of restrictions in Europe could be eased in a few weeks.

JP Morgan noted that the measures taken throughout the region after the second wave have begun to bear fruit, which means that they could be eased in time for Christmas.

“Lockdowns should be eased by early December, which will allow a strong jump in economic and social activity before the holiday season,” said David Mackie, an economist at JPMorgan, on Thursday. =

“Whether there will be a new blockade in Europe in the first months of next year remains to be seen and much depends on the development of vaccine candidates. But so far enough has been done to reverse the infections.”

A sign with a reference to the rules of hygiene during the Crown pandemic with the words “Please disinfect your hands” is placed on a closed booth for a small Christmas market on Potsdamer Platz.

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