Covid-19 in Europe: What do the latest figures show?

Spain is the largest country in Europe to continue to record the clearest evidence of a steady increase in new Covid-19 cases – though other countries in western Europe are beginning to show a similar pattern, albeit at a lower level.

Over the past four weeks, the weekly rate of new confirmed cases in Spain has risen steadily, from 13.5 per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 17 to 25.9, 34.3 and most recently 55.1 in the seven days to August 7.

The rate is now roughly half the level it was at peak of the outbreak, when nearly 120 new cases per 100,000 people were being recorded each week in late March.

In neighbouring France, the seven-day rate for the past four weeks is still well below that of Spain, but it has shown an increase – 5.6, 8.3, 10.7 and 13.5.

Unlike Spain, France remains on the list of countries from which people do not need to quarantine on arrival in the UK.

POLITICS Coronavirus Europe
POLITICS Coronavirus Europe

Belgium was taken off the list last week, and the latest numbers suggest the country is experiencing a similar sort of rise to Spain.

Over the past four weeks, its seven-day rate of new confirmed cases has jumped from 10.0 per 100,000 people to 17.9, 30.7 and 35.5.

Figures have been calculated by the PA news agency using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Data for the most recent three days (August 8-10) has been excluded, as it is incomplete and likely to be revised.

While France continues to rank below both Spain and Belgium, its relative size and closeness to Britain mean its figures are likely to be scrutinised very closely by the UK Government over the next few days.

The Netherlands is another one to watch as the seven-day rate has ticked upwards from 3.2 to 6.1, 9.0 and 17.5.

Other countries in western Europe that have seen a rise over the past four weeks include Denmark (up from 3.6 to 10.0), Germany (from 3.2 to 6.6) and Ireland (from 2.7 to 7.0).

POLITICS Coronavirus Europe
POLITICS Coronavirus Europe

By contrast, Portugal has seen its rate drop across the same period, from 24.2 to 15.7, 14.5 and 11.6.

And Italy continues to have a very low rate: 2.3, 2.7, 3.0 and 3.4.

Across the Adriatic Sea, south-east Europe has been recording some of the highest rates on the continent.

North Macedonia and Serbia both have seven-day rates that are currently above 30.0, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova and Montenegro are all above 50.0.

This trend is not being repeated in nearby areas of central and eastern Europe, however.

As for the UK, the weekly rate remains at a comparatively low level, with fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 people.

There were 8.7 new cases per 100,000 in the seven days to August 7, up slightly from 7.9 in the previous week. At the start of July the rate was 9.4, while at the beginning of June it was 20.9.