WHO warns ‘very serious situation in Europe’

WHO warns 'very serious situation in Europe'
Tourists wearing a surgical face mask walk by the Trevi fountain in downtown Rome on August 19, 2020. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: A dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe has been characterized as a “wake up call” by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) top official in Europe.

WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said: “We have a very serious situation unfolding before us.”

“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” he said in Thursday in a press briefing on the epidemiological situation in the region.

last week, Mr Kluge said the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.

He added: “More than half of European countries have reported a greater-than-10% increase in cases in the past two weeks. Of those, seven countries in the continent have seen newly reported cases increase more than two-fold in the same period.”

While strict lockdown measures imposed in the spring and early summer pushed the number of new cases in June to an all-time low, the number of cases in this month “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us,” he warned.

There have been growing concerns across Europe for a number of weeks at what is being seen as an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases, with the number of new daily infections reaching record highs in some countries.

On Wednesday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has warned that the 14-day case notification rate (the number of newly reported cases) for the EU, European Economic Area and the United Kingdom “has been increasing for more than 50 days, with over half of all EU countries currently experiencing an increase in cases.”

According to data collated by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Spain has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe at 614,360. The country is reportedly set to announce targeted lockdowns in places where the virus is spreading rapidly, and renewed restrictions of movement on Friday.

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