BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The head of the European Union agency for disease control said on Monday Britain was one of five European countries yet to reach the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, contradicting the British government’s line.
As of May 4, Britain had recorded nearly 190,000 coronavirus cases and almost 28,500 deaths. Only Italy in Europe has so far counted more deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who returned to work last week after himself being seriously ill from COVID-19, said on Thursday Britain had past the peak and was “on the downward slope”.
Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), told EU lawmakers Bulgaria was still recording an increase in cases, while for Britain, Poland, Romania and Sweden the agency had seen “no substantial changes in the last 14 days”.
For all other European countries there was a drop in cases, she said. “As of Saturday, it appears that the initial wave of transmission (in Europe) has passed its peak,” Ammon told lawmakers in a videoconference.
The ECDC monitors all 27 EU member countries plus Britain, Norway, Liechtenstein and Island.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Barbara Lewis
Image: A tribute to the NHS and Key workers is seen on a road in Manchester, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Manchester, Britain, May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble