Coronavirus: What's happening in the rest of Europe?

Spain has become Europe's hardest hit country by a new wave of fresh coronavirus outbreaks. Credit: AP

Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has revealed that the UK has the third highest rate of coronavirus infection in Europe.

The UK's chief medical officers said the Covid-19 alert level should be increased to level 4, meaning transmission of the virus is “high or rising exponentially”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday he was “very worried” about the latest data suggesting Britain could be on the same path as Spain and France – where deaths and hospitalisations are increasing – without effective action.

And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned the UK is just weeks behind our European neighbours when it comes to the rate of infection.

So how are our European neighbours handling the latest spike in coronavirus cases?

Data released by the ECDC showed five countries in the region with more than 120 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

Spain was ranked top with the most recent 14-day cumulative total of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population at 300.5.

Next is France with a figure of 192.5 and the UK is in third place with a rate of 70.7.

Following the UK is Italy - the country that had the worst record in Europe early on in the pandemic - that has 34.0 cases per 100,000.

Last in the top five is Germany with a rate of 25.9.

  • Watch ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger's report on the coronavirus crisis in France and Spain:


Spain had one of the strictest lockdowns anywhere earlier this year to bring the rate of infection down. But since it relaxed restrictions in mid-June, outbreaks have spread.

The country’s total number of cases increased beyond 600,000 this month, becoming the first European country to reach that threshold. The country's official death toll has surpassed 30,000.

The ECDC reported there had been 14,389 new cases in Spain on Friday and 90 deaths.

The UK by comparison reported 4,422 cases on Sunday and 27 deaths, according to the ECDC data.

Spain has roughly as many beds devoted to treat seriously ill Covid-19 patients as France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy together. And 359 of them are in the Madrid region, which for the past week has accounted for roughly one-third of a national average of 8,200 new infections per day.

Operating rooms in the Madrid region, which has a population of 6.6 million, are already being turned into ICUs and surgeries have been postponed, while hospitals compete to hire professionals for the expanded capacity.

Shops in affected areas of Madrid have to closed by 10pm. Credit: AP

The regional deputy health chief, Dr Antonio Zapatero, said on Wednesday that “Madrid wants to flatten the curve before the arrival of autumn and the complications that cold weather could bring,” adding that the “drastic measures” to be taken will be decided by the weekend.

Currently, Spain allows household gatherings of up to 10 people, reduced to six in hotspot areas of the capital Madrid.

Travel is restricted in the hardest hit areas to schooling, essential work or medical treatment and access to parks and public spaces is restricted.

Shops are required to close by 10pm in affected areas.

On Friday, in a sign that hospital admission are rising, a line of green tents labelled with red crosses were erected outside a Madrid hospital to deal with coronavirus admissions.

The Spanish government says the country is now doing more tests and that more than half of the newly infected show no symptoms.

But health centres are starting to struggle to cope with the number of virus tests required and responding to patients.

Testing is free in France whether you have symptoms or not. Credit: AP


Infections in France reached a new record-high this weekend with 13,498 new cases and 25 deaths in 24 hours.

There have been at least 31,285 deaths in the country since the start of the pandemic - one of the highest death tolls in Europe.

Stricter restrictions were announced earlier this month in Marseille and Bordeaux to stem their growing numbers of infections.

However, there are no restrictions in place on household mixing but gatherings of more than 10 people in public places can be dispersed by authorities. Face coverings are now required even in outside areas.

Also banned are fun fairs, antique fairs and neighbourhood parties and large public gatherings in stadiums and concert halls are limited to 1,000.

In Bordeaux, cafes and restaurants will also no longer be able to serve clients who are standing up and will not be able to play music outdoors and drinking alcohol in public is also banned.

Dancing is forbidden in public venues, including at weddings.

Health authorities have opened 20 new testing centres in Paris and its suburbs to reduce delays as the number of new infections increase.

All people in France are allowed to get the test for free, whether they have symptoms or not.

Travellers arriving in Italy from high-risk countries are required to take a test at the airport. Credit: AP


Italy had one of the worst outbreak in Europe at the start of the pandemic with over 298,000 confirmed cases and 35,700 deaths.

But after a peak in March and April, it managed to contain the contagion.

Italy's daily figures for new cases are running at about half those in the UK, and much better than either France or Spain. On Sunday, it reported 1,587 new cases.

On Monday, authorities announced testing for Covid-19 will be compulsory for people travelling from areas of France amid growing concerns about rising cases in Europe.

“European data is worrying. Italy is doing better than other countries but we need to be cautious,” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Twitter.

The Italians are using a test originally developed in South Korea that delivers results in less than 30 minutes

The system is set up at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport and anyone arriving from a high-risk country is directed to a test centre.

Anyone who tests positive is immediately isolated and given a full laboratory test, those negative can head home.

Germany plans to offer quicker tests and 'fever clinics'. Credit: AP


While Germany has seen a smaller rise in new infections than many other European countries, the government has put plans in place in a bid to prevent a second wave.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met on Monday with members of her “Coronavirus Cabinet” to discuss new measures and Health Minister Jens Spahn cautioned that the spikes in neighbouring nations could affect case numbers in Germany.

The governor of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, also warned conditions could worsen as temperatures drop in the coming weeks and people spend more time indoors.

Local restrictions were imposed last week in the state capital Munich including limiting the number of people allowed to meet in public to five or members of two households.

Private events, such as birthday parties, weddings or funerals, are capped at 25 people.

“We have to drastically reduce the number of people getting together,” Mayor Dieter Reiter said, criticising the fact that many in Munich no longer adhere to social distancing rules.

The city recorded 56 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week.

The government plans soon to offer quicker tests and open dedicated walk-in “fever clinics” to separate patients with Covid-like symptoms from others.

Mr Spahn warned that weddings, bars, clubs, religious and family gatherings have emerged as the main sites where the virus is spread.

“The virus is the spoilsport, not us,” he said.