Coronavirus Update: Italy, France, Germany and U.K. Record Lowest Daily Death Tolls in a Week As Cases Plateau in Europe

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, pockets of Europe are seeing signs of the outbreak slowing down. Italy's daily death count has continued on a slightly declining trend over the past week, while France reported its lowest daily death count in nearly three weeks.

Germany saw its daily death toll drop by over 60 percent in just two days, while the daily death toll in the U.K. also reached its lowest level in nearly two weeks.

Italy reported 433 new deaths on Sunday, its lowest tally in seven days, the country's civil protection agency confirmed.

The latest daily death toll is the lowest since April 12, when it was at 431 before it rose again in the days following. Its highest daily death count in the past week was at 602 on April 14.

France reported a daily death toll of 395 on Sunday, its lowest since March 29, the country's health minister confirmed on Sunday.

Germany reported a death toll of around 104 on Sunday, nearly a 50 percent drop from Saturday when it was at 186 and nearly 65 percent decline since Friday, when 300 new deaths were recorded.

Around 86 percent of all deaths (but only 18 percent of all confirmed cases) have been among those aged 70 and older, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's federal disease control agency.

"COVID-19 related outbreaks in nursing homes and hospitals continue to be reported. In some of these outbreaks, the number of deaths is relatively high," RKI said in its latest report on Sunday.

"The incidence (cases per 100,000) of COVID-19 is highest in Bavaria(286), Baden-Wuerttemberg (252), Saarland (233) and Hamburg (226)," it adds.

The daily death toll in the U.K. nearly halved overnight, falling from 888 on Saturday to 596 on Sunday, according to the latest figures from the U.K. government. The latest daily death toll is its lowest in a week. The daily death count has stabilized over the past few days, hovering between around 720 to 850.

Overall, the number of daily new cases in Italy, Germany, France and the U.K. have also begun to plateau in the past week, apart from a one-day spike in Italy, Germany and France on separate days. The number of new cases continue on a mostly declining trend in all four nations.

Parts of Europe began easing lockdown measures last week, while others will begin a partial lifting of restrictions this week. But most countries continue to remain in lockdown.

Italy allowed a partial reopening of some shops last week, including those selling books, stationery and children's clothing. Strict rules on hygiene and the number of customers apply at shops that have reopened, while factories remained closed. The lockdown, which began March 9, will be in effect until May 3.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed on Saturday that Italy was not yet in a place to end its lockdown. He ruled out the possibility of certain regions being allowed to reopen before others.

Medical experts also concluded that Italy is still in the first stage of the emergency and cannot be moved onto the next stage of easing restrictions.

"It's way too early, the numbers in some regions are still very much those of a Phase 1 that has not ended yet," the president of the Italian National Institute of Health, Walter Ricciardi, who is also a World Health Organization (WHO) official, told Sky Italia.

The outbreak remains concentrated in the country's northern regions, including Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna.

Germany will begin a partial reopening of some shops from this week, while schools will also gradually reopen from May 4, German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed last Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the outbreak in France is improving "slowly but surely" at a press conference on Sunday, with the number of people in intensive care reported to have dropped for several consecutive days.

The government is planning to ease some lockdown measures from May 11. Some businesses, shops and transport will "gradually reopen," but not cafes and restaurants, Philippe confirmed.

Rome, Italy, coronavirus, mask resident, April 2020
An elderly man wearing a face mask watches artists perform in the courtyard of a popular apartment building for the show Sotto lo Stesso Cielo tour in San Basilio suburbs of Rome on April 18, 2020. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises. Getty Images

The U.K. recently announced lockdown measures will be in place for several more weeks. On Sunday, U.K. Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove confirmed: "The facts and the advice are clear at the moment that we should not be thinking of lifting these restrictions yet."

"One of the things that is deeply worrying and concerning is the high level of deaths," Gove noted.

"The evidence suggests that the rate of infection and the death rate is flattening, but we're not absolutely certain that we are yet on a downward trajectory."

The COVID-19 virus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has spread to more than 2.4 million people across at least 185 countries and regions. More than 165,200 have died, while over 628,800 have reportedly recovered from infection, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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

statista global chart coronavirus
The number of COVID-18 cases across the globe. Statista

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. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • 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.
Coronavirus Update: Italy, France, Germany and U.K. Record Lowest Daily Death Tolls in a Week As Cases Plateau in Europe | News