COVID-19: Boris Johnson issues warning about coronavirus cases in Europe and urges Britons to get their booster jab

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Boris Johnson has warned the rise in COVID cases in Europe could be seen in the UK if people do not get their booster jabs fast enough.

Both the Netherlands and Austria today announced fresh lockdown rules in the coming days as COVID-19 cases rise again in some European countries.

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Austria to place unvaccinated people into lockdown on Monday as coronavirus cases surge

Austria to place unvaccinated people into lockdown on Monday as coronavirus cases surge

The prime minister said: “I’m seeing the storm clouds gathering over parts of the European continent and I’ve got to be absolutely frank with people, we’ve been here before and we remember what happened when a wave starts rolling in.

“The UK has built up a huge amount of protection thanks to the vaccine rollout and people’s amazing willingness to come forward and get jabbed.

“What I’m saying today is the urgency of getting that booster jab is more evident than ever.

“If you can get it, it’s a great thing, the levels of protection it gives you are terrific so over 50s we’re now calling forward, they should come and get it.

“What I’m also saying is if we don’t do it fast enough we can see the potential risks to the state of the pandemic in what’s happening in other parts of Europe.”

Cases have been dropping across the UK since mid-October but many European countries have been climbing, with some higher than the UK now.

In Austria, infections are at their peak with a case rate of 783 infections per 100,000 people while the UK’s case rate is 359 per 100,000 people.

The Netherlands is recording its highest number of daily cases during the pandemic and currently has a case rate of 497 infections per 100,000 people.

Across the UK, COVID-19 cases are down 6.5% over the past seven days compared with the week before, while deaths are down 8.9%, according to the latest government data.

Analysis by Laura Bundock, education correspondent

The latest figures paint a promising picture of the pandemic. COVID infections in England have been steadily falling since the middle of October.

The trend is reflected once more in the latest data from the ONS, which randomly tracks COVID in the community.

There is still a lot of the virus around though, the ONS estimates one in 60 people were infected in England in the week to 6 November – that’s certainly high but it’s lower than it was a couple of weeks earlier.

Look at who is infected and rates remain highest among school children. Not really surprising given they’ve only recently been offered the vaccine. It does look like infections among secondary school aged pupils are starting to fall.

So what is causing cases to fall? It’s a bit early to say, but half term is likely to have had an impact. Worth noting however, infection rates were already starting to drop before most schools broke up.

The next two weeks will tell us more definitively whether rates among children have peaked. Some say the pandemic in England is coming to an end. Speak to staff in hospitals and they’re certainly not as bold with predictions.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, released today, shows there was a decrease in COVID infections across most regions in England in the week up to 6 November but there are early signs of an increase in the East Midlands.

The prevalence of infections in England has also fallen to about one in 60 people for that week, dropping from one in 50 in the previous fortnight, which was the highest level of 2021.

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Hospital admissions and deaths have also been lower in the current third wave across England than in the corresponding week in the second wave this February, the latest ONS data shows.

Mr Johnson said the numbers were “encouraging” but it was not clear if the drift downwards will continue.

He added: “I’m looking at what’s happening overseas and simply saying to the British people, who’ve been absolutely brilliant in getting jabs in the past, now is the time to get your boosters.”

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