Covid cases compared: How the UK compares to Europe as Omicron takes hold

Coronavirus latest news headlines on December 11th

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Fears are now mounting that more restrictions could be coming after scientists warned Plan B measures, such as the use of vaccine passports and mandatory face masks, do not go far enough in protecting the public from Omicron. But it’s not just the UK that is suffering at the hands of a new coronavirus wave, with plenty of countries in Europe ramping up restrictions as new coronavirus cases soar.

The Omicron variant has realised longstanding fears that a new variant could significantly reduce vaccine efficacy, with preliminary research results showing it can escape vaccine efficacy, particularly in those with only two doses of a vaccine.

Booster jabs are being administered across the continent – but the rate at which Omicron is growing could surpass international governments ability to hamper the spread.

Restrictions have so far come into force in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Croatia – most of which have been met with heavy resistance from the public.

The UK’s latest round of restrictions have stopped short of imposing any major bans on socialising or working, with the Government looking to avoid a repeat of last year when Christmas was effectively cancelled for millions of households just days before December 25.

READ MORE: Plan C explained: The date even more Covid restrictions could come

Restrictions are relatively minor – face coverings are compulsory in most public indoor venues but there are exemptions for hospitality, and the Government appears to be actually encouraging us to go out and continue socialising.

But scientists have warned the new Omicron variant could pose a significant threat, with the London School of Tropical Medicine predicting there could be an additional 25,000 to 75,000 deaths if harsher restrictions are not bought in.

Another report leaked to newspapers has revealed the Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been informed new restrictions need to be in place by December 18 to stop a widespread wave of the virus.

How does the UK compare with Europe?

Cases of coronavirus are now rising in almost every European country.

As of Friday, December 10, Belgium has the worst coronavirus rate in Europe, with a daily new case rate of 1,256 per million people.

Cases are now beginning to decline in Belgium following recent restrictions imposed after the case rate reached a high of 1,592 earlier this month.

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The Netherlands currently has a similarly high rate of 1,666, whereas Switzerland has a slightly lower rate of 1,102 cases per million people.

Also ranking above the UK are Norway, Ireland, and Denmark, which daily case rates of 805, 902, and 1,024 respectively.

The UK has a comparatively low rate of daily new cases, with 716 per million.

Germany sits just below the UK with its daily cases, which are recorded as being 615 per million as of December 10.

At the bottom of the group, Portugal and Spain are fairing comparatively well to elsewhere in Europe, with daily case rates of 388 and 266 respectively.

However, cases are rising in both of these countries, albeit not dramatically.

Italy currently has the second-lowest rate, with 255 new daily cases per million people.

Sweden is faring better than other European countries, with a new daily case rate per million of 240.

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