Europe has increase in coronavirus cases for the first time in months

Europe has reported an increase in coronavirus cases for the first time in months, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Hans Kluge, the regional director of WHO in Europe, said that there are still 20,000 new cases and 700 deaths every day.

The pandemic has seen 2.5m cases reported in Europe since the outbreak took hold.

Mr Kluge praised some countries dealing with cluster outbreaks which are localised.

He said: “In several countries across Europe, this risk has now become a reality – 30 countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks.

“In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.

“Countries such as Poland, Germany, Spain and Israel have responded quickly to dangerous outbreaks of Covid-19 associated with schools, coal mines, and food production settings that have occurred over the past several weeks.

“Where new clusters of cases appeared, these have been controlled through rapid and targeted interventions.”

England and Wales have also suffered localised clusters – mostly at meat-packing or processing plants.

And today the Environment Secretary said those outbreaks of Covid-19 are thought to be linked to canteens and car-sharing schemes.

George Eustice told the Commons that the Government will issue new guidance to plants to try to stop further spread.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government is investigating the cause, while chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the cold environment in such factories could be a factor.

In Germany, Europe’s largest meat processing plant suffered a Covid-19 outbreak which resulted in approximately 7,000 people being quarantined.

During Environment Questions, Labour’s Luke Pollard asked whether statutory sick pay is high enough to ensure people do not feel compelled to work even if they are ill.

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Responding, Mr Eustice said: “We have had now three outbreaks linked to meat plants.

“These have been picked up through the testing and tracing approach that has been adopted, and we are reviewing the guidance.

“We suspect that these outbreaks might have been linked either to canteens or potentially to car-sharing arrangements in those plants.

“And we will be revising guidance to ensure that businesses have the approach that they need to prevent further outbreaks in the future.”


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