COVID-19 testing and positivity rates in Europe (October 14th)

Date of article: 14 October 2020

For those who want to know more about the use of studying COVID-19 positivity rates, please read one of my previous articles here.

Current COVID-19 testing activity in Europe

The following chart shows the current COVID-19 testing activity relative to population size in Europe. Testing activity is calculated using the daily average of tests performed, over the most recent period of 7 days for which test data has been released by national authorities. Antibody tests have been excluded in this comparison. The exact calculated values are included in the chart.

Worth nothing in the above chart

  • In Europe, Luxembourg and Iceland are still the two countries which are doing the highest amount of coronavirus tests per capita. Both countries have been sharing the title for testing champions of Europe already since April.
  • In general, most European countries have been increasing their testing activity over the past 2 months. A few notable exceptions of countries who have done fewer COVID-19 tests over the past week than in mid August): Azerbaijan, Serbia, Denmark and Norway.

Current positivity rates in Europe

When a country publishes data on confirmed cases and testing activity, we can also calculate the positivity rate for that country. The 'positivity rate' is the percentage of all performed PCR-tests which turn out to be positive ('confirmed cases'). To know how a country is doing at this moment, we at Newsnodes have mainly been studying the average positivity rate over the last 7 days (the 'current positivity rate'). The following map shows the current positivity rate for countries in Europe.

The exact positivity rates as calculated for the above map are given in the following bar chart.

Worth nothing in the above chart

  • All over Europe the positivity rates are rising, and in many countries the rates are not just rising, but they have been rising in a very rapid pace during the first half of October. This is best illustrated by the fact that there is no European country left anymore with a positivity rate below 1%.
  • In Europe, Finland remains the country with the lowest positivity rate with 1.2%. That's still low, but in mid August there were still 12 countries with a rate below 1.2%. And in almost every continent there are countries with lower rates currently: Rwanda 0.2%; Uruguay 0.9%; South Korea 0.8%; Australia 0.1%.
  • On top of the chart we find Czechia which has seen a huge rise in the positivity rate indicating that the country is having the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Europe at this moment: the positivity rose from 8.4% on September 14th to 26.2% today.
  • Just like in previous updates, Ukraine is the European country in the worst position to be in: on the one hand Ukraine is one of the countries doing the fewest tests and on the other hand Ukraine is one of the countries with the highest positivity rate of Europe.
  • One notable exception of the rising positivity rate all over Europe is Turkey. The country which is situated in both Europe and Asia currently has a positivity rate of 1.4% (compared to 1.5% one month ago).

Additional sources used

Although most European countries report every day on testing activity, some countries only report once a week on testing activity. Because the day that weekly testing data is released can be different for each country, some data might be a few days old.

Below are some examples of countries reporting only once a week for traceability purposes.

Source: Point épidémiologique, Santé Publique France

Source: COVID-19 Situationsberichte, RKI

article by Newsnodes



Date Country page
3 May,23:26 Hungary
25 Apr,21:35 Moldova
24 Apr,14:07 Iran
6 Apr,00:20 Spain
1 Apr,23:43 Portugal
31 Mar,08:36 Paraguay
30 Mar,11:57 Belgium
27 Mar,10:50 Paraguay
26 Mar,10:10 Paraguay
26 Mar,10:09 India


Date Country page
18 May,18:03 Finland
9 May,22:18 Sri Lanka
8 May,00:28 United States
7 May,22:43 Brazil
7 May,22:00 Ethiopia
7 May,21:59 Moldova
7 May,21:58 Turkey
7 May,21:56 Algeria
7 May,21:54 South Africa
7 May,19:55 France

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