The number of coronavirus infections is clearly increasing in several Central European countries, which survived the first wave of the virus relatively well in the spring.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have broken their entire pandemic record in the daily number of new infections this week. 3 123 new infections were detected in the Czech Republic on Thursday, 941 in Hungary on Friday, 235 in Slovakia on Friday and 137 in Slovenia on Friday.
The figures are worrying, as the countries’ daily records for the spring are 377, 210, 114 and 70, respectively.
From today, you can travel to Finland from the four countries mentioned in Slovakia without any restrictions.
Infection rates are again growing steadily in many other European countries. WHO European Director of the World Health Organization Hans Kluge called the European corona situation “very serious” on Thursday.
“The infection rates in September should serve as a wake-up call for us,” Kluge said.
According to recent statistics from the European Office of Communicable Diseases (ECDC), Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg and Malta have the highest number of infections per capita in Europe in the last two weeks.
However, in contrast to several other countries in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, the corona situation was quite calm at the beginning of the pandemic. In terms of population, all coronary infections are only 70th, 115th, 129th and 112th on the world list. Finland ranks 116th on the same list.
So what is the reason for the spike in these countries now? Among other things The Guardianin and The hour the experts interviewed attribute this in particular to the re-authorization of travel and the rapid dismantling of corona restrictions.
Both the Czech Republic and Hungary quickly restricted the entry of tourists to their countries in the early stages of the pandemic. However, both opened their borders to tourists in the wake of the spring closures as early as Midsummer. To date, Finland has liberalized tourism only to a very limited extent.
The aim of the Central European countries was to revive their economies, as the Czech and Hungarian capitals, Prague and Budapest in particular, are highly dependent on international tourism. However, the corona was now able to spread ashore from many directions.
Restaurants in the Czech Republic and Hungary, among others, had already opened in May. This, too, would seem to pay off when autumn comes, as people retreat from the terraces indoors. Assistant Professor at Oxford University Jennifer Beam Dowd points out to Tim that it is precisely by allowing large numbers of people to stay indoors that it has certainly increased infections. For example, at the end of July, at least 98 people fell ill in the same nightclub in Prague.
The Czech Republic has also explained the increased figures with more intensive testing. On the other hand, countries have also pointed out that younger people are now suffering from coronary heart disease.
Despite this, Professor Martin McKee formulates for Tim that, overall, Europe opened up too quickly in the wake of the epidemic.
– While freeing people, it also frees the virus from spreading, McKee says.
The assessment of the reasons for the worrying situation in Central Europe also seems correct in that the Czech Republic and Hungary have taken action to combat the second wave of the koruna, precisely by restoring restrictions and restricting travel.
Last week, the Czech government imposed a mask ban on taxis, public transport, and shops and malls. The opening hours of restaurants and bars were also restricted.
Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, for his part, closed the country’s borders to virtually all foreigners from the first day of September. In addition, all Hungarians returning from abroad must be quarantined for two weeks.
However, this does not seem to have led to any significant results either, as the number of infections continues to rise sharply, well over two weeks after the beginning of September.