The European countries where COVID is rising fastest

·3 min read
Children prepare to receive their first dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Infanta Sofia University hospital as Spain begins vaccinating 5-11 year-olds, in San Sebastian de los Reyes, outside Madrid, December 15, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Children queue to get their first dose of the COVID vaccine in Spain (Reuters)

Spain is currently seeing the sharpest rise in COVID cases out of any country in Europe as fears of Omicron spreading across the continent grow.

Cases have been rising sharply in the UK, with a record-breaking 88,000 confirmed on Thursday, but this increase has been matched with similar figures in Europe.

According to Our World in Data the number of cases recorded in Spain has increased by almost 100% in the past week.

(Our World In Date)
(Our World In Data)

Read more: Chris Whitty denies COVID is being prioritised over other illnesses – ‘complete inversion of reality’

They have recorded over 146,000 cases in the past seven days compared to 87,000 a week prior.

The UK has recorded over 400,000 cases in the past seven days.

Although the speed of increase in Spain is alarming it has started from a relatively low base and only has 447 cases per million people. 

Slovakia has the highest in Europe at 1,239 per million with Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium also all having over 1,000.

The UK currently has 841 per million, just below Ireland's 847.

(Our World In Date)
(Our World In Data)

The EU warned earlier this week they expect the Omicron variant of COVID to become dominant on the continent by the middle of January.

Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the EU public health agency, said that "a further, rapid increase in Omicron cases is imminent" in the European Union and the European Economic Area.

The comments were similar to those of the World Health Organization, which has warned Omicron is "spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant."

It is predicted Omicron will become dominant in the UK by the end of the and is already dominant in London.

In Spain, the government has acted to try and stem the tide of the new wave.

Read more: 'No plans to reintroduce tiers' in England as Omicron surges in London

(Our World In Date)
(Our World In Data)

They approved booster shots for the over 40s on Thursday although it is thought they may not start receiving them until January.

The also government said so far 40 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in Spain.

In the Nordic countries, which have all seen a sharp rise in cases in recent days, they have acted quickly to tighten measures.

Denmark and Norway have both said they expect to break their record cases numbers within days.

Watch: France drastically restricts travel to and from UK over Omicron COVID variant

Denmark last week announced schools and colleges would close early, curbed nightlight and began promoting working from home.

Norway has banned bars and restaurants from serving alcohol and made working from home required where possible amid fears of Omicron.

Other countries began implementing restrictions weeks ago when faced with another wave.

Austria and Germany have both moved to limit freedoms on the unvaccinated.

The Catch-up sign up
The Catch-up sign up

Restaurants, bars, non-essential stores and other public places have been closed from 5pm to 5am in the Netherlands since late November.

On Thursday France tightened rules for travellers coming from the UK.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced tough restrictions will be enforced from Saturday, including a requirement for “compelling reasons” to travel to or from the UK.

Trips for tourism or business will not be permitted, his office said in a statement.

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