Europe could see ‘another half a million deaths from Covid-19’ in February, warns WHO

The growing number of Covid-19 cases in Europe is of “great concern” and the region could see another half a million deaths early next year, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday.

With 78 million cases in the WHO European region, which spans 53 countries and territories and includes several Central Asian nations, the cumulative death toll now exceeds that of Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Western Pacific and Africa. combined, the organization said.

“We are, once again, at the epicenter,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told a news conference.

Kluge noted that “the current rate of transmission in the 53 countries of the European Region is of great concern.”

According to “a reliable projection,” the current trajectory would mean “another half a million deaths from Covid-19” by February, Kluge added.

The increases were seen “in all age groups,” he said.

Kluge blamed the growing number of cases on “insufficient vaccination coverage” and “the relaxation of social and public health measures.”

Hospital admission rates were higher in countries with lower vaccination rates, he said.

Measures such as tests, tracking, physical distancing and the use of face masks were still part of the “arsenal” in the fight against the virus.

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

The number of new cases per day has been increasing for almost six consecutive weeks in Europe and the number of new deaths per day has been increasing for just over seven consecutive weeks, with around 250,000 cases and 3,600 deaths per day, according to official data. from the country. compiled by AFP.

In the past seven days, Russia has led the increase with 8,162 deaths, followed by Ukraine with 3,819 deaths and Romania with 3,100 deaths, according to the data.

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