Eastern and Central Europe had successfully kept the pandemic in control in 2020. But the situation somehow has gone south as high infections and deaths are being recorded across the countries.
Even though the vaccination rate is picking its pace, but still the high infection rate is turning out to be a major roadblock.
Poland was successful in tackling the Coronavirus in the beginning, due to its strict lockdown, closing boundaries, and restricting people’s movement. But this measure was not feasible for the long haul.
The country is now struggling, as it continues to report 60 times more cases than last spring. Patients are being airlifted from Silesia, the worst affected area, to nearby provinces. The government is also trying to attract doctors from abroad.
Schools, colleges, and businesses are closed again, whereas the Catholic churches continue to remain open for limited people.
The government has faced severe criticism on its vaccination policy, which was forced to change overnight and everyone from 40 to 60 years was made eligible for getting vaccinated. The demand was so high that the system ultimately crashed.
With more than 21,000 Covid related deaths, Hungary has one of the highest mortality rates in the world. Astonishingly, it has the highest vaccination rate in entire Europe.
So why the higher mortality rate?
Hungary has high rates of cancer and heart diseases and higher deaths among patients needing ventilation. Although the government managed to get 16,000 ventilators last summer, still there was a 25% shortage of doctors and 30% nurses. Another 5,500 doctors had quit last month due to lower wages.
The silver lining in all this is that Prime Minister Viktor Orban was successful in buying supplies of Russia’s Sputnik V and the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines. Meanwhile, the other EU countries are still struggling for vaccine supplies.
More than one in five Hungarians have been vaccinated.
The second wave of Covid is turning out to be more deadly in Ukraine as every day more than 400 fatalities are being reported.
With a population of 40 million, the vaccination rate of the country is very low as compared to the other countries in Europe. According to the latest figures, even after a month of the arrival of the vaccine only 2,50,000 people have been vaccinated.
There is huge skepticism against vaccination amongst the people, as 50% of the people on asking refused to get vaccinated.
As a major blow to the people, Prime Minister Igor Matovic has stepped down from his position.
“On the eve of Easter, which we celebrate as a symbol of suffering, sacrifice, and forgiveness, I’ve decided to make this gesture of forgiveness towards those politicians who were demanding I step down as prime minister,” the Prime Minister told the reporters.
He stepped down after the controversial and secret deal to acquire two million doses of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.
Finance Minister Eduard Heger has now taken over the top position. It is believed that he is best suited for the role as he is more likely going to listen to the experts.
As of now, 15% of the population has been given the first dose of the vaccine.
Although the cases have been falling slowly, nothing can be said for sure. The authorities have urged the people to abide by the Covid protocols so as to keep the numbers in check.
The death due to Covid has left families devasted.
“Everybody talks about the number of deaths and infections, but nobody thinks about the families,” a person was quoted saying in a BBC interview.
Prague’s Old Town Square has been converted into a death memorial as people write the name of the departed soul near the 25,000 crosses that have been drawn there.