BRITAIN’s “frightening” coronavirus outbreak is spreading up to four times faster than elsewhere in Europe, Austria warned yesterday.
Health minister Rudolf Anschober said charts show the UK has failed to slow the rise in infections like in other countries that imposed lockdowns earlier.
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The minister highlighted the rapid growth in cases in the UK, using a graph that suggests the figure is among the worst in Europe.
Averaged over ten days, the daily increase in positive tests is said to be 7.5 per cent, Mr Anschober said.
The equivalent figure in Austria – which was among the first nations to bring in a lockdown – is less than a quarter at just 1.8 per cent.
He told a press conference yesterday: “That’s what’s frightening a lot of people on a European level at the moment, that’s the figure in Britain of 7.5 per cent.”
Italy, Spain and France – the worst-hit European nations so far – have reduced their daily increase in cases to between 2.5 and 3.7 per cent, the minister said.
The charts show the average for the past ten days, but are not adjusted to account for the outbreak peaking at different times in each country.
The UK has been roughly two weeks behind Italy’s curve, experts say.
It comes after the World Health Organisation singled out the UK for bucking the downward trend.
Dr Hans Kluge, WHO director for Europe, warned yesterday: “Of the ten countries in the region with the highest numbers of cases, there have been optimistic signs in terms of the climbing numbers in Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Switzerland in recent weeks.
“But small positive signals in some countries are tempered by sustained or increased levels of incidents in other countries, including in the UK, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.”
Dr Kluge added: “The storm clouds of this pandemic still hang heavily over the European region.
“The next few weeks will be critical for Europe. There is no fast road back to normal.”
Austria allowed some shops to reopen earlier this week after seeing is rate of infections fall after four weeks of lockdown.
It has recorded 14,476 cases of Covid-19 and only 410 deaths.
Italy and Spain have also begun easing lockdown measures and Germany said some non-essential shops can reopen next week despite a fresh spike in cases.
But France and the UK have extended their lockdowns until at least early May.
The British government says it has “flattened the curve” and hospital admissions are falling but we can’t risk a second wave.
Deaths in the UK jumped by 861 yesterday to 13,729, while the number of positive tests rose by 4.7 per cent to 103,093.
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