Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
Aegon to sell its CEE business to Vienna Insurance for €830mn
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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New coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continued their rise in several Central and Southeast European countries, in line with a sharp rise across Europe, data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows.
New restrictions are being introduced, and several governments have warned they will return to lockdown if cases continue to increase sharply, despite the expected damage to their economies.
According to the WHO’s latest epidemiological update, globally over 2mn new cases were reported in the seven days to October 27. As the global centre of the epidemic has shifted again, for the second week running the European region accounted for the largest share of reported new cases – over 1.3mn during the week, which is a 33% week-on-week increase.
Most of Europe – including much of the Central and Southeast Europe region – reported over 1,000 cases per million of the population in the seven days.
On a more positive note, although the number of deaths is gradually increasing, the proportion of deaths to cases remains relatively low compared to the early phase of the pandemic in the spring, the WHO said.
During this period, in emerging Europe Czechia had the greatest increase in new coronavirus cases compared to its population; a total of 81,970, or 7,669 per million of the population.
Both Slovenia and Armenia – which has been reporting high infection figures since the start of the pandemic – have reported over 4,000 new cases per million inhabitants in the last week, and there were over 2,000 each in Croatia, Georgia and Slovakia.
“In Czechia, where new deaths per 1 million [of the] population are currently the highest (67) since the start of the pandemic, hospitals are expected to be at maximum capacity by mid-November,” the WHO wrote.
Last week, Prague limited free movement of citizens and ordered the closure of most retailers in the country. Most of the measures will stay in effect until the end of the state of emergency on November 3.
This was followed by an overnight curfew for all citizens announced by Health Care Minister Roman Prymula on October 26. The government also limited working hours of retailers. They must be closed between 8pm and 5pm from Monday to Saturday and fully closed on Sundays. The exceptions are pharmacies, filling stations, and airport and railway station shops. Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said on October 28 he cannot rule out a complete lockdown if the current measures don’t have the desired effect.
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic announced on October 22 the country will follow its neighbour and close most of its schools and require the population to stay at home expect for trips to be tested, going to work and securing essentials or taking a walk close to their homes, to mitigate the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic. “This is the last way to avoid a total lockdown that many other countries have gone for,” Matovic told reporters, quoted by Reuters.
In an attempt to tackle the crisis, Slovakia has become the first country in the world to start the pilot stage of mass testing for COVID-19 in two of the most severely affected districts. A total of 140,945 people had themselves tested on October 23-25.
There has also been a worrying growth in new infections in Poland, which is now considering a new lockdown as it failed to stop the spread with softer measures. Poland reported a record 18,820 new cases on October 27.
The government has been incrementally tightening restrictions since October 1, when the number of new cases began a rapid rise. The most recent batch of safety rules saw higher grades in primary schools switching to online mode as well as limits on public gatherings and a shutdown of gastronomy, except for takeaway orders. However, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says the country won't return to full lockdown.
In Southeast Europe’s worst affected country, Slovenia, a lockdown, including an overnight curfew, has already been imposed. The list of facilities that will be closed includes hotels and restaurants, casinos, hairdressing and beauty services, wellness and fitness centres, swimming pools, cinemas, cultural and other service providers.
“In the last week, Slovenia reported their highest daily increase in the number of new cases, 1,964; the rapid rise in cases has resulted in the healthcare system being stretched to capacity,” commented the WHO on October 27.
In neighbouring Croatia, which reported 2,227 cases per million of the population during the week, Health Minister Vili Beros called for the total mobilisation of the public health system. The country’s crisis management team presented a new set of measures on October 25, which include a 50-person cap on attendees at public gatherings, while sports events will be held without spectators for the next 14 days. However, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has ruled out a new lockdown or overnight curfew.
Amid a worsening of the situation in the South Caucasus, Armenia reported 4,443 cases per million of the population during the week.
The escalation of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave has made it much more difficult to fight the spread of COVID-19. The WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, commented on October 22 that “the hostilities are already contributing to a dramatic acceleration in COVID-19 transmission. Continued cycles of violence and subsequent population displacement will exacerbate the precariousness of the health situation.” Specifically, the "conflict is causing a direct disruption to healthcare, further burdening health systems that are already stretched by the pandemic,” said a statement from the WHO.
Neighbouring Georgia, which largely managed to escape the first wave of the pandemic, has now been reporting high numbers of new cases. Georgia, despite its small population of around 4mn, announced nearly 2,000 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period spanning October 24-25, including more than 1,000 cases in the capital city Tbilisi that has emerged as a major virus hotspot. The Black Sea region of Adjara played a key role in spreading the virus during the summer months because of its holiday resorts.
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