In the countries of central Europe, which during spring seemed to provide a best-practice model for keeping coronavirus at bay, case numbers have risen sharply, and governments in the region fear that their health systems are close to capacity and may struggle to cope, writes Shaun Walker in Budapest. Central Europe is now just as badly hit as countries further west, and by some parameters is doing worse.
The Visegrad Four group of nations – Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – were all notable for their success in keeping case numbers earlier in the year, even as gruesome statistics of deaths and hospitalisations came out of western Europe on a daily basis.
The Czech Republic’s response was so impressive it was invited by Austria to join a small group of nations, including Norway and New Zealand, which had succeeded in keeping the virus at bay and would share best practices.
But that rosy picture has rapidly faded over the past few weeks, as the country has struggled to contain an infection rate that rose to 15,000 new cases a day at its peak at the beginning of the month, making it the worst-hit country in Europe on a per-capita basis.
All four countries are under some kind of lockdown.
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at 1.38pm GMT