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COVID-19 prompts life expectancy to fall in a majority of EU countries

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By Euronews
Medical staff at the National Center for Storage of the COVID-19 Vaccine, a military run facility, in Bucharest, Romania in December 2020.
Medical staff at the National Center for Storage of the COVID-19 Vaccine, a military run facility, in Bucharest, Romania in December 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru
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Life expectancy at birth fell in the majority of European Union member states last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, official data shows.

According to Eurostat, the biggest drop was recorded in Spain, with a loss of 1.6 years on 2019.

It was followed by Bulgaria (-1.5 years) and Lithuania, Poland and Romania which each registered a decrease of 1.4 years.

Nordic countries were the only ones to observe a rise in life expectancy with Denmark and Finland recording a 0.1-year increase while Norway, a non-EU member state, recorded a 0.3-year bump.

The figures are provisional as Ireland has not yet reported data for 2020.

Overall, non-EU member states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland had the highest life expectancy at birth across Europe last year with 83.3, 83.2 and 83.1 years respectively.

The EU nations with the highest life expectancy were Malta (82.6 years), followed by Italy, Spain and Sweden (all 82.4 years).

The member states with the lowest life expectancy at birth were Bulgaria (73.6 years), Romania (74.2 years) and Lithuania (75.1 years).

The pandemic has hit Europe hard as more than 610,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 in the 31 countries making up the EU/EEA, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The UK has the region's highest death toll at 127,126. On the continent, Italy and France have deplored the most fatalities, respectively 111,747 and 97,431.