UK behind most European states in tackling coronavirus, says EU agency

The head of the EU’s agency for disease control has warned that the UK is one of five European countries failing to reduce active coronavirus infections, despite Boris Johnson’s claims of success. After ordering pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, gyms and leisure centres across the country to close indefinitely, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressedthe public on March 23; outlining strict exercise and shopping limits, ordering all shops other than food stores and pharmacies to close, and implementing a ban on public gatheringsof twoor more people. First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, while deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19), announced on April 16that theU.K.lockdown would continue for at least another three weeks. A rise in the popularity of baking during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown appears to have caused many major supermarkets across the UK to suffer a shortage of flour in recent weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement, while flanked by windows showing children's drawings of rainbows supporting the NHS, on his first day back at work in Downing Street after recovering from a bout of coronavirus (COVID-19) that put him in intensive care, in London, England on April 27. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could see the U.K. economy shrink by a record 35 percent by June.  A man wears a religious placard on Market Street in Manchester, England on March 25.  Workers sell food and household items to local residents from their ice cream van at a supported housing estate in west Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 1. Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre in London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital comprising two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus, on March 30.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with chief medical officer Chris Whitty (L) and Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance (R) in Downing Street after he had taken part in the government's emergency Cobra meeting in London, England on March 16. But Ammon’s suggestion that the UK is yet to show the sustained improvement seen elsewhere in Europe offers some grounds for caution as Downing Street seeks to champion its efforts to reduce the rate of infection. But an EU-backed project monitoring all excess deaths during the pandemic reported that England had seen the highest rise in deaths over the five-year average compared with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Northern Ireland, Scotland andWales. Ammon, a former head of department for infectious disease epidemiology at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, said the lockdowns brought in by governments across Europe as a whole had reducing transmissions by 45% compared with 8 April. Researchers at the University of Bonn suggested on Monday that more than 10 times as many people in Germany had probably been infected with the coronavirus than the number of confirmed cases, following a field trial in one of the worst-hit towns.