COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Durov rejects Western funds’ offer to buy 5%-10% of Telegram with $30bn valuation
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
Akbank takes over Istanbul's Palladium Atasehir shopping mall
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
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
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
Download the pdf version
Soaring numbers of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in parts of Central and Southeast Europe have forced governments to impose new restrictions such as mandatory facemasks in public places and a shift to online learning, and some have warned a second lockdown may be inevitable if they fail to contain the spread of the virus.
Czechia in particular has seen an explosion in new cases, with 54,840 reported in the seven days to October 20 as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO). At 5,129 per million inhabitants this is the highest in the region and considerably higher than in France and the UK – that saw Europe’s biggest tallies of new infections this week – in per capita terms. On October 16, Czechia broke another record in its COVID-19 one-day tally since the pandemic started, and posted 11,105 positive cases.
New cases per million inhabitants are above the 2,000 mark in Armenia, Montenegro and Slovenia, and topped 1,000 in Slovakia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Romania, Poland, Moldova and Croatia, as new infections surged across most of the continent.
The Czech government moved close to a second lockdown on October 21. Prague ordered most shops and services to close temporarily – except those selling food and other essentials – and urged people to limit their movements to essential trips such as for work and medical visits.
The measures were announced after Czechia reported a new record daily increase in infections, reaching 11,984 on October 20.
Earlier, Health Minister Roman Prymula warned of a tightening of anti-coronavirus measures as the healthcare system is approaching capacity. “I would very much plead for the already implemented measures to be respected, because we can see that they aren’t, which means that we will have to propose tougher measures at the government … We don’t have much time,” Prymula told the Czech parliament, Reuters reported.
Part of the problem is that many people have lost faith in the justification for emergency measures against the coronavirus and the government’s ability to handle the crisis. According to an October survey by the technology and consulting company Ipsos, reported by the Czech News Agency, fear of the coronavirus epidemic among Czech citizens has been growing recently; however, people do not follow the government emergency measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
While in the spring, almost two-thirds of people in Czechia reduced their personal contacts, in October the share is only one-third. In May, most Czechs believed that the government had chosen a good course of protection against the coronavirus; now they usually have the opposite opinion.
The majority of the Czech population (over 80%) felt threatened by coronavirus in the second half of March, after the state of emergency was declared and the measures introduced. Gradually this number has declined, to 71% fearing the coronavirus in October.
In both Czechia and neighbouring Slovakia, fringe groups protested over the weekend against measures to contain the virus, with the two protests erupting into violence as protesters threw lit flares and firecrackers at police.
Slovakia, which racked up 9,471 cases in the last week, or 1,736 per million, is aiming to test virtually the entire population over the next two weekends, the government announced on October 18. “What other option do we have?” said Education Minister Branislav Groehling at the time, expressing the hope that other European countries would be inspired by the Slovak example.
In the region’s most populous country, Poland, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski has warned that if the current growth rate of new coronavirus infections continues, there could be 15,000-20,000 new cases daily as soon as this week. Construction of temporary hospitals started in Warsaw and provincial capitals during the weekend, and there are plans to require private hospitals to also provide beds for COVID-19 patients.
Romania’s capital Bucharest has entered the “red scenario” as cases have increased, meaning schools have been closed and education moved online for two weeks alongside other measures. Similar steps may be taken soon in other parts of the country. President Klaus Iohannis said on October 19 that the country had been “thrown into chaos” by the pandemic. Romania has reported 24,865 cases in the last week.
Elsewhere in Southeast Europe, tiny Montenegro remains the worst hit in per capita terms, with 1,746 new cases in the last week, or 2,780 per million of the population.
There was a sharp increase in new infections in Slovenia, where the government has declared a 30-day state of epidemic starting from October 19. Cases were up by 150% in the last week, the highest one-week increase it has experienced so far, according to the WHO. The state of emergency includes a nightly curfew and a ban on gatherings of more than six people.
Elsewhere, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska decided to tighten restrictions, restricting gatherings to up to 10 people and banning live music in restaurants. North Macedonia’s government sent a package of measures setting out new restrictions to the parliament. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama urged people to respect anti-coronavirus measures, warning that otherwise the country will face a second lockdown. Bulgaria is also considering tightening restrictions, including making face masks mandatory in public outdoor areas.
Overall, the European region has continued to report a rapid increase in cases and deaths, said the WHO on October 20. The region, which includes Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Turkey, reported 927,000 new cases in the past week, up 25% compared to the previous week. This is over three times more cases reported per day compared to the April peak.
France, the UK, Russia, Czechia and Italy accounted for over half of all reported cases in Europe in the last week.
The number of deaths also showed a 29% week-on-week increase, the WHO said, though the fatality figure is well below the April level.
Globally, the largest numbers of new cases were reported in India, the US, France, Brazil and the UK.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: