Europe grapples with shortages

Foreign Desk Report

BRUSSELS: As the world witnessed over 41,000 cases of COVID-19 and 18,433 fatalities, four countries in Europe now counted over 20,000 cases each, and they are still struggling to tackle the shortage in medical supplies to fight the pandemic.
In Europe, the new epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Italy, Spain, Germany, France have become the four hardest-hit countries on the continent in terms of COVID-19 cases.
By Wednesday, Italy has registered 74,386 coronavirus cases and 7,503 deaths, while Spain reported 7,937 new cases and 738 new deaths in the past 24 hours by midday Wednesday, raising its tally to 47,610 cases and 3,434 deaths. Spain now registered the world’s fourth-most infection cases, after China, Italy and the United States.
To date, France has confirmed 25,233 infection cases, with 1,331 deaths. In Germany, where coronavirus cases now totaled 31,554, death toll was only 149. However, its single-day new cases of 4,118 on Wednesday was quite surprising.
Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in Switzerland, with death toll reaching 103.
In UK, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 exceeded 9,500 as of Wednesday morning, while fatalities went up to 463. Portugal reported close to 3,000 cases of Wednesday, and 43 deaths. Estonia reported its first coronavirus death on Wednesday, as total confirmed cases in the country exceeded 400.
In Hungary, where 226 cases have been registered by Wednesday, as well as 10 deaths, construction of a new container hospital in the central part of the country is well underway, and ventilators have already been installed.
In Budapest, a provisional hospital has been set up for 330 people on the premises of the Hungarian fair center Hungexpo.
The coronavirus outbreak in Europe has caught many countries by surprise, and shortage in protective medical supplies such as face masks, gloves, protective gowns and goggles, ventilators is making medical professionals desperate.
China, which is recovering from the COVID-19 blow and slowly getting its manufacturing engine running, is lending a helping hand to many countries either through donations or assistance in procurement.