The number of people suffering from Covid-19 in Europe has reached the levels of March when the pandemic peaked, the director of the European Public Health Agency said on Wednesday, noting that the opening of schools does not necessarily bring new risks.
"The virus did not sleep during the summer. It was not on holiday," Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told MEPs at a regular hearing.
Ammon said data from this week showed that 46 people per 100,000 were infected in Europe. “We almost went back to the numbers we saw in March,” she said.
The number of infected in Europe in March began to rise steadily, reaching about 40 infected per 100,000 people by the end of the month, according to the ECDC, and by the end of April it had risen to about 70 infected per 100,000.
The current higher number of infected consequences is partly due to more frequent testing.
Newly infected people are predominantly younger people, Ammon said, a new pattern that has resulted in fewer hospitalizations because the disease is more severe for older people who were more affected in March and April.
But Ammon warned that the number of hospitalizations is now rising again, suggesting an increase in the number of those infected and among the elderly.
The figures, relating to the 27 EU member states, Britain, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, vary widely from country to country, from two infected to 176 per 100,000 people, she said, without specifying the countries in question.
Ammon also stressed that the reopening of schools in September does not necessarily pose an increased risk of infection, given that some countries in Europe that have already opened them this spring have not seen an increase in the number infected.
But she added that it is very important to introduce more security measures, including respecting physical distance and washing hands often.