Those affected include the European political class. Polish President Andrzej Duda tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, according to a statement from Prime Minister Blazej Spihalski on Saturday. Duda’s diagnosis comes as the country reported 13,632 new cases on Friday, the highest daily amount since the pandemic began. The total number of cases is more than 50% higher than the 7,482 cases on Monday.
“The second wave hit the whole of Europe equally,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday.
The five countries with the highest rates of infection worldwide are in Europe, according to the latest creeping averages of Johns Hopkins University, analyzed by CNN.
The most affected countries are the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.
In all five countries, the number of new infections has risen since early October.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that his country must live with the virus in the long run.
“When I listen to scientists and the Scientific Council, we anticipate [living with the virus] at best until next summer, “Macron said, speaking during a visit to a health center.
Macron added that his government aims to impose new restrictions on coronavirus in a targeted way.
The same day, France reported 42,032 new cases in 24 hours, a new record, according to the French Health Agency. About 46 million people in the country are subject to a night curfew for coronavirus in France.
The picture in neighboring Spain is less dramatic, but the average daily value for the country remains high, remaining at 299 per million on October 19.
In a speech Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on the public to limit their mobility and help fight the second wave.
“The next few weeks, months will be difficult, very difficult,” Sanchez said, adding that although Spain has officially registered more than 1 million cases, he estimates the real number is more than 3 million.
The Spanish regions of Castile and Leon and Valencia have announced plans to impose a night curfew in the coming days. The Andalusian region also demanded a curfew for the city of Granada.
Political scandal in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has also set a daily record of more than 15,000 new cases in 24 hours for the first time since the pandemic began. The death toll in the country rose by 126 to a total of 1,971. The nation is the most affected country in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Meanwhile, the country’s health minister, Roman Primula, is under the grip of a political scandal after he was filmed leaving a restaurant in Prague late Wednesday night, just days after he announced a strict lock.
Restaurants in the Czech Republic have been closed since October 14, so the minister’s actions violate the rules.
Primula said on Friday that he knew the owner of the restaurant, who allowed him to sit in a private lounge to drink coffee.
He refused to resign, despite pressure from the country’s prime minister. Prime Minister Andrei Babish said earlier that he would fire Primula if he did not resign.
The EU has sent 30 fans to the Czech Republic as officials act to control the second wave.
“The Czech Republic is going through difficult times. The number of coronavirus cases is rising. Hospitals need medical equipment. The EU is here to help,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.
Italian governors are calling for a blockade
In Italy, local governors are calling for stricter restrictions on the coronavirus, with some fearing a repeat of the spring wave. Italy was one of the hardest hit countries in Europe in March.
On Friday, the country reported a daily record of infections, with 16,079 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours.
The Italian Ministry of Health also reported 136 Covid-related deaths and another 66 patients in intensive care, bringing the total to 992 for the country.
Campaign Governor Vincenzo De Luca called for a national blockade and announced he would close the region “for 30 to 40 days” to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“In a brutally clear way, I do not want to be in front of military trucks carrying hundreds of coffins,” De Luca said in a video message on Friday.
“Current infection data make any type of partial measure ineffective.”
Lombardy Governor Atilio Fontana said the autumn wave was a “dramatic situation”.
So far, the Italian government has opposed a national lock. “A lock can be avoided if swift, urgent and strong action is taken now,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Thursday.
CNN fans Fanny Bobile, Valentina Di Donato, Tim Lister, Claudia Rebaza, Thomas Etzler and Jennifer Hauser contributed to this report.