Europe battles COVID surge as WHO warns of 700,000 more deaths


A colorized scanning electron micrograph of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Credit score: NIAID

Europe stays “within the agency grip” of COVID and the continent’s dying toll may high 2.2 million this winter if present developments proceed, the World Well being Group warned on Tuesday.

Europe is battling an upsurge within the pandemic that noticed Austria return to lockdown this week whereas Germany and the Netherlands are poised to announce new restrictions.

An additional 700,000 folks within the 53 international locations that comprise the WHO’s European area may die by March 1, the worldwide well being company stated, along with the 1.5 million who’ve already succumbed to the virus.

It expects “excessive or excessive stress in intensive care models (ICUs) in 49 out of 53 international locations between now and March 1, 2022”.

Europe’s return to the pandemic’s epicentre has been blamed on sluggish vaccine uptake in some nations, the extremely contagious Delta variant, colder climate shifting folks indoors once more and the easing of restrictions.

Within the European Union, 67.7 p.c of the inhabitants is totally vaccinated.

However charges differ broadly between international locations, with low ranges in lots of jap international locations. Solely 24.2 p.c of Bulgarians are totally vaccinated, in contrast with 86.7 p.c in Portugal.

In response to WHO knowledge, COVID-related deaths in Europe elevated final week to nearly 4,200 a day, doubling from 2,100 a day on the finish of September.

It stated proof was rising that vaccine-induced safety in opposition to an infection and gentle illness was declining.

Booster pictures

A number of international locations, together with Greece, France and Germany, are shifting in direction of requiring a 3rd booster shot for somebody to be thought-about totally vaccinated.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Germany shouldn’t be doing sufficient to curb its “extremely dramatic” fourth wave of the pandemic.

With intensive care beds swiftly filling up and its weekly incidence charge at an all-time excessive of 399.8 new infections per 100,000 folks, Germany’s worst-hit areas have ordered new shutdowns.

The German navy is predicted so as to add coronavirus jabs to the listing of necessary vaccines for troopers “quickly”, a defence ministry spokesman stated.

The transfer would make troops the primary German public servants to be obliged to be jabbed in opposition to the virus.

It comes as the military is making ready to deploy troopers to assist native authorities with vaccinations, assessments and different efforts to counter hovering an infection charges anticipated within the weeks forward.

The US State Division has urged People to not journey to Germany or neighbouring Denmark as a result of of the surging COVID case numbers.

The rise in instances and hospitalisations have ignited a fierce debate in Germany about whether or not to observe Austria’s instance and make vaccination necessary for all residents.

Austria in the meantime closed outlets, eating places and festive markets on Monday, probably the most drastic restrictions seen in Western Europe for months.

‘Difficult winter forward’

Israel, which is a component of the WHO’s European area, on Tuesday rolled out vaccinations for kids aged 5 to 11, one of solely a handful of international locations to inoculate minors that younger.

About half of its lately confirmed instances had been amongst these under the age of 11, it stated.

And France’s totally vaccinated Prime Minister Jean Castex went into isolation late on Monday following a constructive take a look at, after his daughter caught the virus.

The regional director for WHO Europe, Hans Kluge, stated Europe and Central Asia “face a difficult winter forward”.

He referred to as for a “vaccine plus” strategy, consisting of a mixture of vaccinations, social distancing, the use of face masks and hand washing.

The WHO stated face masks cut back COVID incidence by 53 p.c in accordance with a current examine, and “over 160,000 deaths could possibly be prevented (by March 1) if common masks protection of 95 p.c was achieved”.

However the prospect of a winter below renewed restrictions has sparked unrest in a number of international locations.

Belgium, the Netherlands and France’s Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique had been on Tuesday nonetheless reeling from violent protests in opposition to new anti-COVID measures.

Dutch police arrested no less than 21 folks throughout a fourth night time of clashes, which Prime Minister Mark Rutte labelled “pure violence” by “idiots”.

His Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo referred to as violence at a 35,000-strong protest in Brussels “completely unacceptable”.


WHO Europe warns of possible surge in COVID deaths ahead


© 2021 AFP

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