Europe’s third wave: ‘It’s spreading fast and it’s spreading ...

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Europe’s third wave: ‘It’s spreading fast and it’s spreading everywhere’

Hospitals fill up across the continent as new variant proliferates and vaccine shortages bite

Victor Mallet, John Burn-Murdoch, Guy Chazan, Michael Peel, Davide Ghiglione, Valerie Hopkins, James Shotter and Ian Mount

More than a year after the start of the pandemic, Europe is enduring a grim spring. Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths are rising in many countries as the continent grapples with a more infectious variant, a shortage of vaccines and public weariness with lockdowns.

In France “the epidemic is spreading fast, and it’s spreading everywhere”, PM Jean Castex told parliament on Thursday after President Emmanuel Macron announced the country’s third nationwide lockdown, which includes travel restrictions and school closures and extends a 7pm-6am curfew.

In two weeks, Castex said, the number of recorded new cases in France had risen 55% to about 38,000 a day. This two-week growth compares with a rise of 95% in Belgium and 48% in the Netherlands in a similar timeframe; in Germany, they have risen 75%. Part of this increase reflects an expansion in testing...

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