A spring surge in Covid-19 cases is beginning to recede in Europe as the continent’s vaccine rollout is finally gathering pace, boosting hopes of a broad reopening of the region’s economy before the summer.
Unlike the U.S., the U.K. or Israel, which brought the coronavirus somewhat under control earlier this year thanks in part to an early and rapid vaccine rollout, continental Europe faced a late-winter rebound in infections as governments there struggled to get shots to people.
This is rapidly changing as rising vaccine deliveries to European Union member states and the lifting of bureaucratic and logistical hurdles that gummed up the effort early on are rapidly expanding access to vaccines.
Meanwhile, shutdowns, curfews and other restrictions put in place in March and April are beginning to push down case numbers, raising the prospect of a return to normalcy for businesses ahead of the summer tourism season that is crucial to the region’s economy.
As of May 2, EU member states had administered 33.6 vaccine doses per 100 inhabitants, according to data compiled by Oxford University—less than half the level in the U.K. and the U.S. but a big jump compared with just a month ago and far more than in most emerging and developing economies.