The EU is at a “breaking-point” as the European Commission has warned that the continent’s hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases. A third wave is currently running rampant throughout the bloc, with several countries including Poland hitting all-time highs for infections. In Germany, the public health institute has warned that there could be up to 100,000 deaths if the third wave spreads unchecked.
Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country’s hospitals were caring for more Covid-19 patients than at any time in the pandemic.
He warned the country was “a step” away from being unable to treat people properly.
The BBC’s Warsaw correspondent Adam Easton explained: “Poland is seeing all-time highs for new infections.
“Three times this week it has broken the record. From today they are introducing heightened restrictions, by closing nurseries, pre-schools, hair salons, and large DIY and furniture stores.”
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He continued: “That is on top of a national, partial lockdown which was introduced last weekend.
“The infection rate is accelerating here so quickly that people, including the Prime Minister here, are saying Poland is facing its most difficult moment since the pandemic began.
“If the infection rate is not slowed, then the health system here will basically not be able to cope.
“It is not just in Poland. We are seeing in the region, across Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany, very high death rates.
German health authorities on Friday warned that the third wave of coronavirus infections could be the worst, pushing intensive care units to “breaking point”.
Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute, the German government agency leading the fight against the pandemic, said stopping the third wave was impossible.
The European Commission has raised concerns about the “alarming” spread of Covid in some member states, and warned that it could worsen in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday, the EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “We are facing again an exceptional situation.”
This comes as the vaccine rollout across Europe continues to lag behind other wealthy countries including the US, Israel and the UK.