Coronavirus: France, Germany, UK figures compared

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK make up the top five countries for most coronavirus cases in the EU / EEA zone. We break down how the numbers between these countries compare. 

13 August 2020
France has carried out the fewest number of Covid-19 tests per population out of 5 of Europe's biggest economies
By Connexion journalist

Western Europe’s largest economies have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and have had mixed success in dealing with it. Spain currently has the most cases, while the UK has the most deaths but has also done the highest number of tests per population. 

In the past two weeks, the trend of the number of cases of Covid-19 has been increasing in four of these five countries, with Italy being the exception. 

Country

 Sum of Cases

 Sum of Deaths

 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100 000

 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths per 100 000

Spain

 326612

 28581

 98.0

 0.3

United Kingdom

 312789

 46526

 18.2

 1.0

Italy

 251237

 35215

 7.9

 0.2

Germany

 218519

 9207

 14.0

 0.1

France

 204172

 30354

 30.4

 0.2

Statistics from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, August 12 2020

Testing

Regarding testing, France has dramatically increased the number of tests it is carrying out since deconfinement processes began at the end of June, going from around 200,000 tests per week to over 500,000 now. Despite this, out of these five countries, France has tested the least, according to data from Statista dated August 13, 2020. 

Country

 Rate of coronavirus tests performed per million population

United Kingdom

 277 774

Spain

 159 806

Italy

 121 910

Germany

 102 447

France

 84 239

Measures to combat the virus

Measures to combat the virus have varied between the five countries. The UK, Italy and Spain require anyone travelling to the country to fill out forms so that they can be contacted if needed. The UK has also been imposing last-minute quarantine measures for people travelling from certain countries. In France, rules on wearing masks outside are becoming increasingly common, while in Germany and the UK, certain areas have been subjected to local lockdowns, a step that France has not yet taken

According to scientific online publication OurWorldInData, the UK has been the most stringent in imposing measures, while France has been the most lenient. 

Data from OurWorldInData

The publication used nine metrics to calculate its Government Stringency Index, which are school closures; workplace closures; cancellation of public events; restrictions on public gatherings; closures of public transport; stay-at-home requirements; public information campaigns; restrictions on internal movements; and international travel controls.

100 is the most stringent and 0 is the least stringent. As of August 13, the UK has a score of 68.06, Spain 64.35, Germany 56.94, Italy 48.15 and France 31.48. 

“It’s important to note that this index simply records the strictness of government policies. It does not measure or imply the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response. A higher score does not necessarily mean that a country’s response is ‘better’ than others lower on the index,” the publication noted. 

Applications

Germany rolled out an application in June that has been reasonably well received with around 16 million downloads. 

According to the president of the Robert Koch Institute, a German government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, “the app works”. He told the BBC that 500 app users had tested positive for the virus and warned others using the app. 

However, he also added that he could not say “exactly how many people were warned, because of the decentralised approach of the app.” Italy has also had an app available since June, but on July 23 the Italian government announced that the app, named Immuni, had only been downloaded by 12% of Italians aged between 14 - 75 years old.

In the UK, a second attempt is being made to develop an app after a first effort failed. Public trials are set to begin on this new version in England today (August 13). Spain is also preparing to roll out an app in September.

France also has a coronavirus-tracing app called Stop-Covid, which it launched in June. It has had around 2 million downloads, although many people have since deleted it. The app has been controversial, and was the subject of several heated debates in the Assemblée Nationale and the French Senate, before it was eventually approved. The French government decided against using a standard set by Apple and Google and opted for a 'centralised model'. This approach is supposed to give health authorities greater access to data collected by the app, but has also raised concerns of privacy. 

Read more about Coronavirus in France:

France-UK quarantine fears rise with Covid cases

France travel: which countries have restrictions in place?

French cities advised to prepare for local reconfinement

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