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As Covid surges, death toll tops 1.5mn in Europe

The official death toll stands at 1,500,105 in a combined 52 countries since the first fatality was recorded in the region in February, 2020, the data showed.
A medical staff wearing personal protective equipment leaves the intensive care unit in one of the hospitals, which treats patients with Covid-19 coronavirus in Kiev.(AFP)
Updated on Nov 26, 2021 05:02 AM IST
Agencies |

More than 1.5 million people have died from Covid-19 in Europe since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, an AFP tally of official data showed on Thursday as a number of countries reintroduce measures to try to stem the spread.

The official death toll stands at 1,500,105 in a combined 52 countries since the first fatality was recorded in the region in February, 2020, the data showed.

Meanwhile, Germany passed the threshold of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, with the latest resurgence of the disease pushing new infections higher at a record pace and putting hospitals in some hotspots under severe pressure.

Since it took hold at the beginning of last year, 100,119 people have died from the virus, according to the latest data from the RKI public-health institute.

There were a further 351 Covid deaths in Germany in the 24 hours through Thursday morning, according to the RKI. Infections surged by a record 75,961, and the seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 people climbed to a new high of 420.

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“It is of course a very sad day that we have to mourn 100,000 victims of the coronavirus,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin. “And unfortunately, at the moment, more than 300 deaths are being added to that each day.”

Separately, French health minister Olivier Veran confirmed that France will roll out Covid vaccine booster shots for all aged 18 and over starting this weekend.

Veran also said during a news conference that the delay between a full vaccination programme and a booster shot will be shortened to five months instead of six.

EU watchdog approves Pfizer jab for ages 5-11

The EU’s drug regulator approved Pfizer’s coronavirus jab for children aged 5 to 11 on Thursday. The European Medicines Agency said that a panel of experts “recommended granting an extension of indication for the Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11”, using the jab’s brand name.

Covid resurgence worse than feared: Belgium PM

Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Thursday said his country had recorded an uptick in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations far worse than feared, after reimposing tougher Covid rules last week.

The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency and imposed additional restrictions on Thursday in its effort to tackle a record surge of infections while the streets of the Slovak capital Bratislava were deserted on Thursday as a new partial lockdown came into effect due to rising cases.

Meanwhile, Denmark has joined other European nations in offering a third vaccination shot to everyone over the age of 18 amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Danish health authority said on Thursday the “decline in immunity is also happening for people in the younger age groups”. Helene Probst, deputy head of the government agency, said “revaccination is offered at the same interval to everyone over 18 years of age”.

New restrictions put free travel at risk, says EU

The European Union warned member countries on Thursday that they risk undermining the 27-nation bloc’s Covid-19 travel and access certificate system with new restrictions that some are putting in place to try to thwart a surge in cases.

At the same time, the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, recommended that a Covid safe-country list with about 20 countries outside Europe currently on it should be dropped from March and that all travellers with WHO endorsed shots be allowed in.

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