Top 10 European COVID hotspots as Merkel warns of ‘full force’ fourth wave

·3 min read
Visitors walk past stalls at the old city in Salzburg, Austria, on November 12, 2021, during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. - Austrian Chancellor Schallenberg said on November 12, that he wanted to introduce a nationwide lockdown for those not vaccinated against or recovered from the coronavirus, as cases rapidly rise. The states of Upper Austria and Salzburg, which have seen some of the worse case rates, are already introducing the lockdown for the unvaccinated as of Monday, November 15. 

  - Austria OUT (Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by BARBARA GINDL/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
Salzburg in Austria is the European region with the worst COVID outbreak. (Getty)

The Austrian city of Salzburg currently is currently the area of Europe with the worst COVID outbreak, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).

It comes as German chancellor Angela Merkel warned of a "full force" fourth wave of coronavirus sweeping the continent.

Soaring COVID cases across Europe are prompting governments to reintroduce lockdown measures, including Austria, which has now placed unvaccinated people into lockdown.

The Netherlands has introduced a three-week snap lockdown in a bid to control soaring infections – the first Western European nation to bring back a full-country lockdown since last winter.

Health workers prepare doses of Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 at a vaccination centre in Gibraltar on April, 6, 2021. - Gibraltar, a tiny British territory on Spain's southern tip, has become one of the first places in the world to vaccinate the bulk of its adult population against the coronavirus, allowing virus restriction to be lifted and life to almost return to normal. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP) (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)
Health workers prepare doses of Pfizer vaccine in Gibraltar. (Getty)

The WHO collates COVID outbreaks at subnational level, showing the continent's worst-hit regions. The figures below shows the seven-day incidence.

The 10 European COVID hotspots are:

  1. Salzburg, Austria: 1,771 cases per 100,000

  2. Oberösterreich, Austria: 1,580 cases per 100,000

  3. Posavska, Slovenia: 1,515 cases per 100,000

  4. Međimurska, Croatia: 1,462 cases per 100,000

  5. Gibraltar, United Kingdom: 1,270 cases per 100,000

  6. Jugovzhodna Slovenija, Slovenia: 1,248 cases per 100,000

  7. Podravska, Slovenia: 1,245 cases per 100,000

  8. Zasavska, Slovenia: 1,163 cases per 100,000

  9. Olomoucký, Czech Republic: 1,122 cases per 100,000

  10. Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Hungary: 1,113 cases per 100,000

Austrian coronavirus infections hit a new daily record of 14,416 cases on Wednesday, on the third day of a lockdown for those not fully vaccinated.

It has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 925 per 100,000 people.

The Netherlands re-imposed some lockdown measures last weekend for an initial three weeks to slow a resurgence of coronavirus, but infections have continued to spread.

On Tuesday, the National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported a record of more than 110,000 cases in the week ended 16 November, an increase of 44% from the week before, with the strongest rise among children aged 4-12.

An employee of the Public Health Service of the Netherlands (GGD) carries out a test for Covid-19 in a street testing centre in the Hague, on November 17, 2021. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Ramon van Flymen / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by RAMON VAN FLYMEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
A health worker in the Netherlands carries out a test for COVID-19. (Getty)

On Wednesday, Germany reported 52,826 new infections – a jump of a third compared with a week ago and another daily record.

The Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats, who are negotiating to form the next government, are set to propose a range of measures to fight the pandemic in a draft law set to be voted on in parliament on Thursday.

They want to force people using public transport or attending workplaces to provide a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of recovery or vaccination.

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Slovakia reported 8,342 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, the highest daily tally to date in the central European country of 5.5 million people, health ministry data showed on Wednesday.

Prime minister Eduard Heger said the government would allow only vaccinated people to attend large events, and set rules for testing at workplaces.

Non-essential shops and services, sports, wellness and hotels will be open only for vaccinated people or those who had overcome COVID-19 in the past six months.

On Monday, Boris Johnson warned that “storm clouds are gathering" over parts of Europe with a “new wave” of COVID sweeping through the continent.

Watch: Germany's Merkel calls country's Covid-19 situation 'dramatic'