| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

COVID-19 cases in Europe up again after 10 weeks of decline: WHO Europe

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday (Jul 1) said COVID-19 cases were on the rise again in Europe after two months of decline and warned a new wave would come “unless we remain disciplined”.

“Last week, the number of cases rose by 10 per cent, driven by increased mixing, travel, gatherings and easing of social restrictions,” WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told a press conference.

“There will be a new wave in the WHO European Region unless we remain disciplined,” Kluge added.

Kluge cautioned that the reversal happened amid an increase in instances of the Delta variety, which was initially discovered in India and, according to the regional director, “overtakes Alpha very quickly,” referring to the version that originally appeared in the United Kingdom.

The highly contagious Delta strain might account for 90% of new cases in the EU by the end of August, according to a research by the EU’s disease control agency ECDC.

Kluge further predicted that by August, the Delta variation might be the dominant strain in WHO’s European region, which comprises 53 countries and territories, including some in Central Asia.

The regional director said that the vaccine roll-out was nowhere near where it needed to be to offer the necessary protection.

Vaccines have been shown to also protect against the Delta variant, but a high level of protection requires two doses.

Kluge said that the average vaccine coverage in the WHO’s European region was 24 percent, and half of elderly people and 40 percent of healthcare workers were still unprotected.

“That is unacceptable, and that is far from the recommended 80 percent coverage of the adult population,” Kluge said.

  • Reuters