GERMANY has passed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths as Europe’s raging fourth wave drives record daily infections.
Slovakia declared a state of emergency and overwhelmed doctors in the Netherlands are said to be days away from having to ration who gets lifesaving treatment.
Several nations have imposed new lockdowns or restrictions in an effort to curb skyrocketing infections across the Continent.
The surge has been blamed on the relatively low uptake of vaccines compared to the UK and a lag in deciding to give booster jabs.
Germany is even considering making vaccines compulsory amid warnings from Angela Merkel the coming winter will be “worse than anything we’ve seen”.
Today Germany’s disease control agency said it recorded 351 more Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119.
It becomes the fifth European country to pass that mark, after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France.
Outgoing chancellor Mrs Merkel has already announced the tighter restrictions on unvaccinated citizens, such as a ban from restaurants and concert halls.
But she warned yesterday they are not enough to stop a “dramatic” spike in cases and said hospitals will soon be overwhelmed.
With just 68 per cent of the population double-jabbed, Health Minister Jens Spahn said it is critical that more people get protected.
He warned: “Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead.”
Slovakia – in the midst of the world’s fastest rise in infections – yesterday declared a 90-day state of emergency with a two-week lockdown shutting all non-essential shops.
Warning people to stay indoors, president Zuzana Čaputová told the nation: “Slovakia is losing the battle against Covid.”
It follows a similar total lockdown in Austria and new restrictions in Greece, the Netherlands and Romania.
Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary all reported new highs in daily infections on Wednesday.
‘Sombre and worrying’
Dutch hospitals are facing crisis with a surge in admissions to intensive care units.
Diederik Gommers, head of the national association of ICUs, warned doctors are ten days from having to ration critical care.
He begged MPs to impose a stricter lockdown, including shutting down schools.
The country has already been under a partial lockdown since November 13, but health minister Hugo de Jonge admitted more restrictions planned for December will now start tomorrow.
He said: “The picture is somber and worrying.
“The turnaround that we want to — have to —see this week, to ensure pressure on the healthcare system doesn’t get too high, has to come soon otherwise we will have to force it.”
Italy is also tightening up rules for the unvaccinated with a “super green pass” needed to enter bars, gyms and sports stadiums.
Bodies pile up
The fourth wave has already seen bodies piling up outside hospital morgues in Romania.
The World Health Organisation has warned Europe could see an additional 700,000 deaths by the spring.
Eastern Europe is likely to be hit especially hard as vaccine rates are much lower.
The EU public health agency U-turned this week and now recommended booster jabs for all adults sic months after the second dose.
It said lower hospital admissions in the UK and Israel showed how effective the boosters are at preventing serious illness.
Meanwhile it was claimed that shunning the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could also have made Europe’s fourth wave worse.
The boss of the manufacturer says their vaccine gives longer lasting protection than Pfizer or Moderna, which is more widely used on the Continent.
Last weekend saw three nights of violent rage as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in European cities to protest stricter Covid rules.
At least 130 people were arrested in the Netherlands and in Brussels on Sunday, officers fired water cannon and tear gas at protesters.
A crowd of 40,000 marched through Vienna on Saturday shouting “dictatorship”, while some 6,000 people protested in the city of Linz on Sunday.
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