‘Europe had most number of Covid cases, deaths last week’: WHO expresses concern
The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concerns over the worsening coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic situation in Europe. On Wednesday, the UN health body said that Europe had the maximum number of cases and deaths due to the viral disease over the last week, with a double-digit percentage surge in each.
The United Nations (UN) health body also said that new infections in the European region, which stretches as far east as former Soviet republics in Central Asia, witnessed an 18% spike over the last week - a fourth consecutive weekly increase for the region.
On the other hand, there was also a 14% surge in Covid-19 related deaths in Europe, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological report, news agency the Associated Press reported.
Britain, Russia, Ukraine among others worst hit by Covid-19
According to the WHO’s weekly epidemiological report, the United States had the largest number of cases over the last week at 513,000, followed by Britain at 330,000 and Russia at nearly 250,000.
Both Britain and Russia are seeing a surge in their daily Covid-19 cases. While Russia will go into a week-long paid holiday from October 30 till November 7 to curb the spread of Covid-19, the British government is not bringing back any restrictions at present.
The WHO also pointed out that other European countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania among others had some of the highest Covid infection rates per 100,000 people in the previous week, the Associated Press further reported.
What are the reasons for the Covid-19 surge in Europe?
The WHO said on Wednesday that several factors are responsible for the increased spread of the coronavirus disease in Europe, including low vaccination rates in some countries in East Europe.
Ukraine, which is a country in eastern Europe, has only inoculated seven million of its population of 41 million. Russia, on the other hand, has only 36% of its population vaccinated with one dose, according to a report by Al Jazeera last week.
Meanwhile, the recent lifting of lockdown and other Covid restrictions, including travel restrictions by many countries in Europe to revive tourism, is also contributing to the surge in cases and deaths in the continent.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergency director, told Al-Jazeera last week that “more social gathering indoors after lifting restrictions just as winter sets in is driving a rise in cases in many countries across Europe.”
(With agency inputs)