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Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the CEE region - Statistics & Facts

The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reached over 200 countries around the world, with the first cases in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) confirmed in early 2020. Russia closed its borders to China on January 31, 2020, after two Chinese nationals tested positive for the virus. More cases began to emerge across the CEE region in late February 2020, many of which were linked to travelers returning from Italy. These quickly spread, from Baltic countries in the north to the Balkans in the south. As of June 23, 2021, the highest number of cases was recorded in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, and the highest number of deaths in Russia.

Czechia confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 1, 2020. Within a month cases had risen to over 3,500. In Poland, the government announced on March 15 that it would cancel land and air passenger traffic, becoming one of the first countries in Europe to close its borders. As of April 2, over 2,300 patients were hospitalized for the disease and 57 patients had died. It has been reported that all 57 had serious underlying health problems before contracting the virus.

In Romania, the health care system struggled with a shortage of medical supplies to deal with the growing number of cases, putting medical staff at a higher risk of infection. Trust in the country’s Ministry of Health, however, remains higher than many other institutions in Romania. Several measures were implemented to contain the spread of the disease, including suspending travel to and from Italy, where many Romanians reside.

Hungarian authorities announced the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country on March 4, 2020. Since the outbreak of the virus, several preventive and emergency measures have been taken in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 that had infected more than 1.5 million individuals as of January 28, 2022. One of these measures was the introduction of the coronavirus law, enabling the Hungarian prime minister to rule by decree indefinitely. In June 2020, the rule by decree ended and was replaced by a state of medical crisis.

The pandemic is expected to have a major impact on CEE economies. Disruption to supply chains and a decrease in demand for Polish exports negatively impacted GDP growth in Poland. Industries such as the tourism sector in Russia have also suffered due to a fall in demand. Although, thanks to consumers' preparations for isolation, retail sales in the FMCG market have increased.

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.


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