Wales Covid infection rate is now the fourth-highest in the world

Wales now has the second highest Covid infection rate in Europe and the fourth highest in the world.

Across Europe, coronavirus is only spreading more rapidly in Latvia, a country which has just entered a strict month-long lockdown as their infection rate soars. Latvia has fully vaccinated 57% of its total population, compared to 71% in Wales.

Globally, Barbados and Georgia are the only other countries which have higher infection rates.

The figures, taken from Our World in Data, collate reported daily cases from each country around the world. The United Kingdom overall comes in at sixth in Europe, based on the rolling seven-day average infection rate for the period up to October 20.

In order to look at how Wales ranks internationally, WalesOnline calculated the Welsh infection rate using data from the UK government coronavirus dashboard. The figure for the seven days to October 21 is an average of 1,053 cases a day for every million people. This puts Wales amongst the Baltic states which are leading the Covid surge across East Europe.

These figures differ marginally from the data published each day by Public Health Wales, as OWID calculates the infection rate based on the date a positive test result was reported and calculates a daily average per 1m people whereas PHW uses the figures from the date a test was taken and uses a seven-day rolling total for every 100k people. See the latest Welsh data here.

The table below shows the rolling seven-day average daily infection rate for European countries only, up to October 20 (from OWID).


Cases per million people

Latvia 1,180.775
Wales 1,053.900









United Kingdom








In Lithuania, health workers from two of the three largest hospitals in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius stopped accepting non-urgent patients due to surge of patients with severe coronavirus.

Latvia became the first country in Europe to reimpose coronavirus restrictions and on Wednesday it announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections. The government imposed a month-long night-time curfew, from 8pm to 5am, this week and closed schools and all non-essential shops.

In Serbia, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, said on Wednesday that a Covid-19 “health pass” will be mandatory for access to restaurants, cafes and bars in the evenings.

Wales’ health minister Eluned Morgan has refused to rule out new coronavirus restrictions this winter.

When asked about whether restrictions would need to be brought in, she said: “I don’t want to make any promises because rates are extremely high at the moment. We are not seeing the kind of reduction that we were hoping to see, like they have seen in Scotland.

“We will keep an eye on the situation. We hope that we will be able to not have the restrictions that we have seen before, but it is up to the Welsh public play their part as well and try and mix outdoors as much as possible, make sure there is ventilation, wash their hands.

“This virus has not gone away. There is a scenario in our Coronavirus Plan where we start to go back up the levels of restrictions. That is something we are keeping an eye on, but at the moment it is unlikely we are going down that path. At the moment, but who knows what the winter will bring. We still have to keep an eye on the situation, it is still something we are living and learning about as we go along.” You can see the plan here.

Ms Morgan said on Thursday that the vaccination programme was going as planned. Read when you will get your Covid booster jab in Wales here.

Unlike in Wales, where hospitalisations due to Covid remain relatively low, countries in eastern EU member countries, particularly the Baltic states, are seeing their health systems under increasing pressure. Less than 30% of Romania’s adult population is fully-vaccinated and the World Health Organization (WHO) and EU countries have shipped ventilators, oxygen concentrators and tests to treat the high number of acute patients, after the government asked for help.

Meanwhile, a similar scenario is unfolding in Bulgaria, only some 25% of the adult population has received two jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine – the EU’s least-vaccinated nation.

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