WHO Europe chief voices ‘grave concern’ about COVID rebound

GENEVA , A 53-country area in Central Asia and Europe faces the "real danger" of a resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic within the next weeks, or is already experiencing a new wave. This was the warning from the head of the World Health Organization’s regional office.

WHO Europe chief voices ‘grave concern’ about COVID rebound

GENEVA , A 53-country area in Central Asia and Europe faces the "real danger" of a resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic within the next weeks, or is already experiencing a new wave. This was the warning from the head of the World Health Organization’s regional office.

Dr. Hans Kluge stated that case numbers are approaching record levels and that the rate of transmission in the region is of "grave concern", stretching as far east as the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia.

Kluge stated that "We are at an additional critical point in pandemic resurgence," he told reporters from Copenhagen, Denmark's WHO Europe headquarters. "Europe is back at pandemic's epicenter, exactly where it was a year ago."

He stated that the difference is now that health authorities are more knowledgeable about the virus and have better tools for fighting it. He said that the recent surge is due to a lack of vaccination rates and relaxed prevention measures.

Kluge stated that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have more than doubled in the region's 53-country area over the past week. He said that if this trend continues, there could be another 500,000 deaths from pandemics in the region by February.

WHO Europe reports that the region had nearly 1.8million new weekly cases. This is an increase of approximately 6% over the previous week and 24,000 COVID-19 weekly death -- a gain of 12%.

Kluge stated that the countries of the region were in "varying stages" of vaccination rollout and that 47% of the population was fully vaccinated. Only eight countries had 70 percent of their population fully vaccinated.

Kluge stated that "we must change our tactics from reacting to COVID-19 surges to preventing them from ever happening"

WHO headquarters in Geneva reported Wednesday that European cases rose for the fifth consecutive week. This makes Europe the only region in the world where COVID-19 has not increased. It was Europe that reported the highest number of infections, with an average of 192 cases per 100,000.

Anders Tegnell (Sweden's chief epidemiologist) said that Thursday was "clearly in another wave" and that the increased spread of disease is primarily concentrated in Europe.

In recent weeks, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe saw their daily case numbers increase in recent weeks.

Experts urged people to get immunized during a Thursday online briefing by the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency.

"The epidemiological situation is very worrying in Europe now that we are heading into winter with an increase in infection rates, hospitalization, and we can also witness the increase in deaths," stated Fergus Sweeney of the EMA's clinical studies and manufacturing taskforce.

He said that it was important for everyone to get vaccinated, or complete their vaccinations if they have had a dose. Because we cannot all be protected until we all are vaccinated, it is vital that everyone gets vaccinated.

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