Alarm bells in 53 European, Central Asian countries, WHO warns of new Covid wave

Covid-19 cases had risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where the infections are still increasing, WHO's headquarters in Geneva said on Wednesday.
Head physician Lorenz Nowak treats a Covid-19 patient in the ICU of the Asklepios Clinic in Munich, Germany. (AP)
Head physician Lorenz Nowak treats a Covid-19 patient in the ICU of the Asklepios Clinic in Munich, Germany. (AP)
Published on Nov 05, 2021 05:43 AM IST
Copy Link
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

As many as 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia face the “real threat” of a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks or are already battling a new wave of infections, exacerbated by the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

“We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence. Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic, where we were one year ago,” WHO's Europe head Hans Kluge told reporters from the WHO Europe headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Kluge said case counts are beginning to near-record levels again and the pace of transmission in the region, which stretches as far east as the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, is of “grave concern.”

Also read | Biden admin mandates compulsory Covid jabs or tests for private firm workers

European countries must work harder to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further as deaths and new cases surge, Kluge added. He said the difference now is that health authorities know more about the virus and have better tools to combat it. Relaxed prevention measures and low vaccination rates in some areas explain the latest surge, he said.

WHO Europe has said that the region saw nearly 1.8 million new weekly Covid-19 cases, an increase of about 6 per cent from the previous week, and 24,000 deaths in the same period or a 12 per cent rise.

Also read | Germany reports record number of new Covid-19 cases

Kluge said hospitalisation rates due to Covid-19 in the 53-country region more than doubled over the last week. If the trajectory continues, Kluge said, the region could see another 500,000 pandemic deaths by February, he said.

"Today every single country in Europe and Central Asia is facing a real threat of Covid-19 resurgence or already fighting it."

Also watch: WHO warns of 5 lakh deaths in Europe amid major Covid-19 surge

Kluge said the countries in the region were at “varying stages of vaccination rollout” and that regionwide an average of 47 per cent of people were fully vaccinated. Only eight countries had 70 per cent of their populations fully vaccinated.

“We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of Covid-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place,” Kluge said.

Also read | India's Covid-19 tally rises by 12,885; positivity rate at 1.21%

Covid-19 cases had risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where the infections are still increasing, WHO's headquarters in Geneva said on Wednesday. The infection rate was by far the highest in Europe, which reported some 192 new cases per 100,000 people.

Sweden's chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said Thursday that “we are clearly in another wave,” and added that “the increased spread is entirely concentrated in Europe.”

Meanwhile, the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“The epidemiological situation in Europe is very concerning now as we head into the winter with increases in infection rates, hospitalisation and we can also see the increase in fatalities,” Fergus Sweeney, the EMA's head of clinical studies and manufacturing task force, said on Thursday.

“It's very important that everybody gets vaccinated or completes their dose of vaccination if they have already had a first dose but not a second dose,” Sweeney said. “It's really important that we're all vaccinated because we are not all protected until everyone is protected in that respect.”

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Jamaican commerce minister Aubyn Hill's comments over wheat imports come as India on May 14 temporarily suspended wheat exports in an apparent bid to curb the local price surge.

    Talks for importing wheat, fertilizers from ‘friend’ India ongoing: Jamaica

    Jamaica's commerce minister Aubyn Hill said that the talks for importing wheat from India are ongoing. A day later, commerce secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam said that the Modi government would keep a window open to export wheat to needy countries, a report by news agency Reuters said. President Ram Nath Kovind's arrived in Jamaica on May 15, the first visit by any Indian president to the Caribbean country.

  • Members of the pro-burkini association Alliance Citoyenne watch the Municipal Council on a TV screen as members of the municipal council vote to allow the wearing of the burkini in the city's swimming pools, in Grenoble on May 16, 2022. 

    On 'burkini' row, it is French government vs city of Grenoble

    France's interior minister said Tuesday that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin would seek to overturn a rule change in the city of Grenoble that would allow women to wear burkinis in state-run swimming pools. The Alpine city of Grenoble changed its swimming pool rules on Monday to allow all types of bathing suits, not just traditional swimming costumes for women and trunks for men which were mandated before. The restrictions were eventually overturned for being discriminatory.

  • Railway station staff disinfecting Pyongyang station premises as a prevention measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus.

    Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea worrying for new variants, says WHO

    The World Health Organization has said that the Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea is worrying for new variants of the virus, as the country is battling a rapid spread of a mysterious fever since late April. On Wednesday, the country reported 232,880 more cases of the mysterious fever and six more deaths, taking the infection tally and toll to over 1.7 million and 62 respectively.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference in Geneva.

    WHO chief as Covid cases rise in 4 regions: ‘increasingly difficult to know…’

    A decline in genome sequencing and testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has made it “increasingly difficult” to know where the virus is and how it is mutating, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhenom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday as cases have risen over the last week in four out of six WHO regions. He also expressed concern over the first reported Covid outbreak in North Korea, with more than 1.7 million suspected cases since late April.

  • The seven-day average percentage of positive Covid-19 test results rose to 5.18 per cent in New York City on Monday.

    New York City lifts Covid-19 alert level to 'high'

    New York City, the largest city in the United States, raised its Covid-19 alert level from "medium" to "high" on Tuesday, as infections continue to go up in recent weeks. The guidance requires New Yorkers to wear a face mask in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings and consider avoiding higher-risk activities. New York City raised its Covid-19 alert level to "medium" from "low" in early May.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 18, 2022