I understand the phrase "it was every country for itself" as "(the situation is) that every European country was fighting against the pandemic alone within its own borders, (rather than fighting for the European Union - which is what a member state of the Union should do)." Am I on the right track?
The New York Times tweeted: In Opinion
"When the pandemic reached Europe in the early months of 2020, it was every country for itself," writes Chris Bickerton, a lecturer in politics at Cambridge University. "That was not how the European Union was supposed to work."