Europe Has Over a Million Coronavirus Cases, Nearly Half of the World's Infections

The novel coronavirus has infected over a million people in Europe, with more than half of that number in just four countries: Italy, Spain, Germany and France. The four countries also form over a quarter of the world's total infections. Around 14 European countries each have over 10,000 confirmed cases, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Spain is the outbreak's epicenter in Europe, with over 177,600 infections, including at least 18,579 deaths. The country saw a rise in the number of new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, after dropping for three consecutive days from April 11.

Italy has the world's third-highest number of cases (at least 162,488) and the second-highest death toll in the world, with more than 21,000 fatalities, as of Wednesday.

But both Italy and Spain have seen a slight flattening of the number of new cases, as well as fatalities, in recent weeks.

The number of new cases in France has gone up and down in recent days. But overall it appears to be on a slightly declining trend, getting closer to the lower figures reported in March, according to the latest data from the French National Public Health Ministry.

The country saw a drop in its daily death toll for three consecutive days from April 10 to 12, before rising again to over 700 on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) this week noted the pandemic has yet to reach its peak.

"The overall world outbreak—90% of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet," a spokesperson for WHO, Margaret Harris, said at a briefing this week.

Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, coronavirus, April 2020
A man walks his dog in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on April 5, 2020, on the 20th day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Getty Images

Several European nations have begun easing their lockdowns this week, with a partial resuming of operations. This includes Spain, where some workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors have returned to work.

The country is planning to ramp up its testing, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told parliament.

"A group of institutions is making efforts to increase the number of tests. The number of tests made in Spain is rising. Spain is already one of the countries making the most daily tests. More than 20,000, and we are increasing the number," Sánchez said.

Italy will remain in lockdown through May 3. But shops selling books, stationery and children's clothing reopened from Tuesday this week. Strict rules on hygiene and the number of customers allowed apply for all shops that have been reopened, while factories remain closed.

Austria also reopened thousands of shops on Tuesday. But the government has warned the country was "not out of the woods."

Denmark was also reported to be resuming daycare centers and schools for children in the first to fifth grades on Wednesday.

The Czech Republic is reportedly planning to gradually reopen its restaurants and shops from next Monday, while people will be required to wear masks.

The novel coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China. More than two million have been infected across at least 185 countries and regions. Over 500,000 have recovered from infection, while more than 128,000 have died, as of Wednesday.

Top 10 countries in Europe with the most COVID-19 cases

(as of April 15)

  1. Spain (at least 177,633 confirmed cases)
  2. Italy (at least 162,488)
  3. Germany (at least 132,210)
  4. France (at least 131,362)
  5. U.K. (at least 94,847)
  6. Turkey (at least 65,111)
  7. Belgium (at least 33,573)
  8. The Netherlands (at least 28,314)
  9. Switzerland (at least 26,023)
  10. Russia (at least 24,490)

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

statista, covid19, coronavirus,
A map showing COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15, 2020. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.