Europe Accounts for Most New COVID Cases for Second Week, With 46 Percent of Worldwide Total

For the second consecutive week in a row, Europe accounted for the most new cases of the novel coronavirus.

According to a recent epidemiological update from the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe reported approximately 1.3 million new cases of COVID-19 as well as 11,700 deaths in the past seven days—"accounting for 46% and 30% respectively of the total number of cases and deaths reported globally."

"The number of new cases and deaths reported in the European region are increasing exponentially, with 36% and 37% increase in cases and deaths respectively compared to the previous week, the highest percentage increase reported in a single week in the region," the WHO said.

The update from the organization also noted that although the number of deaths is gradually increasing in Europe, "the proportion of deaths to cases remains relatively low, compared to the early phase of the pandemic in the spring."

Just last week, Europe saw a similar increase in cases, with over 927,000 and at least 8,386 deaths, according to WHO's update on October 20. In last week's update, the WHO stated that the number of new cases last week in Europe accounted for 38 percent of new cases globally, and the region also reported "the highest increase in cases and deaths thus far – 25% and 29%, respectively compared to the previous week."

Across Europe, France saw the most new COVID-19 cases of any other country in the region with over 200,000 in the past seven days, according to the WHO, while the United Kingdom saw a 30 percent increase in cases in the past week.

Just last week, France and Spain saw the number of cumulative cases surpass one million, making them the sixth and seventh country respectively to do so, worldwide.

In its update on October 23, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control note that the rate of infection has continued to rise for 91 days.

The increase in new cases across Europe has prompted lawmakers and health officials to reimpose new coronavirus mitigation efforts that were previously in place earlier in the pandemic.

Europe Coronavirus
An electronic sign warns Mancunians that the Greater Manchester area is now under Tier-3 Covid-19 restrictions on October 23, 2020 in Manchester, England. Greater Manchester moved into the government's tier 3, high coronavirus alert level, at midnight forcing the closure of pubs not serving substantial meals. Christopher Furlong/Getty

On Sunday, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a national state of emergency as well as imposing a nighttime curfew.

"The situation we are going through is extreme," Sánchez said in a televised address on Sunday, adding: "It is the most serious in the past half century."

In addition to Spain, Italy recently announced new restrictions, such as requiring bars and restaurants to close at 6 p.m. local time, while gyms and movie theaters must fully close down. It marked the strictest measures since the country removed its nationwide lockdown in May.

While announcing an extension of a night-time curfew in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex noted: "In France, like everywhere in Europe, the second wave is here."

"The situation is grave," Castex said.

Newsweek reached out to the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.