WHO warns Europe once again at epicentre of pandemic

WHO warns Europe once again at epicentre of pandemic
Vaccination rates have plateaued in Germany as cases rise. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Europe is once again “at the epicentre” of the Covid pandemic, as cases soar across the continent.

WHO Europe head Hans Kluge said at a press conference that the continent could see half a million more deaths by February.

Mr Kluge blamed insufficient vaccine take-up for the rise.

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

In recent months, the rate of vaccination has slowed across the continent. While some 80% of people in Spain are double jabbed, that number is lower in Germany and France – at 66% and 68% respectively – and lower still in some central and eastern European countries.

By October 2021, only 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated.

The WHO Europe head also blamed a relaxation of public health measures for rising infections in the global health body’s European region, which covers 53 countries including parts of Central Asia. So far the WHO has recorded 1.4 million deaths across the region.

Maria Van Kerkhove, The WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said over the past four weeks cases across Europe had soared over 55%, despite an “ample supply of vaccines and tools”, and colleague Dr Mike Ryan said Europe’s experience was a “warning shot for the world”.

It came as Germany recorded almost 34,000 daily coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a record rise.

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