Almost two years since the first case of COVID-19 was reported and about a year the first vaccine was approved, the cases and deaths from the virus are increasing again with Europe and Central Asia being the epicentre of the new rise, the WHO said.
The WHO said that every single country in Europe and Central Asia was facing a real threat of COVID-19 resurgence, or already fighting it. “The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the WHO European Region is of grave concern. COVID-19 cases are once again approaching record levels, with the more transmissible Delta variant continuing to dominate transmission across Europe and central Asia,” said WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge.
INCREASE IN CASES/DEATHS
Noting that nearly 1.8 million new cases and 24 000 new deaths were reported Last week, he said Europe and Central Asia saw a six per cent increase and 12 per cent increase, respectively, compared to the previous week. “Over the past 4 weeks, Europe has seen a greater than 55 per cent increase in new COVID-19 cases,” he said.
According to Dr. Hans Kluge, cases are once again approaching record levels, with the more transmissible Delta variant continuing to dominate transmission. “We are, once again, at the epicentre”, Dr. Kluge said.
“There are increasing trends across all age groups, but 75 per cent of fatal cases are in people aged 65 years and above,” he said.
One estimate predicts that, if the region stay on this trajectory, there could be another half million deaths in Europe and Central Asia, by February next year.
Dr. Kluge noted insufficient vaccination coverage and relaxation of public health and social measures have led to the surge of cases and deaths, .
“Despite near-record COVID-19 cases, new deaths are at approximately half the peak levels. This reflects the life-saving effects of vaccines and the Herculean task of health authorities, the health workforce and communities, to develop, administer and accept vaccines”, he said.
On average, only 47 per cent of people have completed their vaccination in Europe and Centra Asia region. While eight countries have now exceeded 70 per cent coverage, in two countries, the rate remains below 10 per cent. “The vaccines are indeed doing what they were intended to do: preventing severe illness and death”, he said.
NOT A GOOD TREND
The World health Agency said that more than five million deaths have been reported until now but the real number is higher. More than 50,000 people are losing their lives every week, the agency said.
In the last seven days, 56 countries, from all regions, reported an increase in deaths of more than 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted reports about lack of intensive care unit beds, lack of supplies, overwhelmed health workers, and hospitals deferring other needed procedures.
“Let me be very clear: this should not be happening”, he said. “We have all the tools to prevent COVID-19 transmission and save lives, and we continue to call on all countries to use those tools,” he said.