As the continent’s first outbreak in the spring hit the elderly, spreading to nursing homes and hospitals, these new infection groups appear to be linked to young people who are entering bars, restaurants and other public places.
Spain is at the forefront of this new battle. Earlier this week, Spain surpassed the UK as the country with the second highest number of confirmed cases in Europe after Russia. The Spanish Air Force has set up a field hospital in the city of Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragon region, which over the past few weeks has seen an attack on Covid-19 infections.
Data from the Ministry of Health in the country show that the average age of people who test positive for coronavirus in Spain has dropped steadily in recent weeks, suggesting that more young people are becoming infected.
Young people are catching the virus now
Other European countries are seeing the same trend.
According to the ECDC, 40% of people who contracted the disease in Europe between January and May were aged 60 or older. But in June and July, this age group accounted for only 17.3% of all cases. The highest percentage of new cases over the summer, 19.5%, was reported among people aged 20 to 29, the ECDC said. The average age dropped from 54 in January to May to 39 years in June to July.
However, Véran said the impact on the health system is not as bad as it was in the spring when France experienced similar rates of infection.
“The percentage of complicated cases is much lower,” Véran told France 2 television channel, adding that the age of those infected is one reason behind that. “Patients diagnosed with [Covid-19] they are now younger, 20 to 40 years old, and less vulnerable, “he explained.
Greece is also seeing new highlights in cases. It has recorded the highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began on Wednesday, with 262 new infections registered by the Greek National Public Health Organization.
According to a tweet from Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s health minister, the average age of those infected in August has dropped to 36.
Starting earlier this week, visitors coming from Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands need a negative test to enter the country. There is also a new midnight curfew for bars and restaurants in 16 areas in Greece.
As German schools begin to reopen, the government is urging people to follow the rules of social distancing and wear masks. It has also launched a massive campaign of free tests for anyone entering the country.
But starting Thursday, the restrictions will also apply to people coming from countries that Italy has previously considered safe. Travelers who have been to Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain in the past 14 days – even if they just crossed the road – can only enter Italy if they have tested negative up to 72 hours before arrival.
Further north, the UK last week introduced new quarantine requirements for people coming from Belgium after points in cases there. He also announced several local blockades in parts of northern England where new outbreaks have been identified.
Reports have contributed to CNN’s Chris Liakos in Kefalonia, Livia Borghese in Rome, Fred Pleitgen in Berlin and Sharon Braithwaite, James Frater and Sarah Dean in London.