COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia at the epicenter of a new take-off |

The warning came from WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks to reporters in Geneva on Thursday.

More than 5 million deaths have now been recorded, and WHO thinks the real number is higher. More than 50,000 people are killed every week.

Over the past seven days, 56 countries from all regions have reported more than 10 percent increases in deaths.

Tedros drew attention to reports of a shortage of beds in intensive care units, a shortage of supplies, an overwhelmed medical staff, and that hospitals are postponing other necessary procedures.

“Let me be clear: this shouldn’t be happening,” he said. “We have all the tools to prevent COVID-19 transferring and saving lives, and we continue to urge all countries to use these tools. ”

More vaccines

On Wednesday, WHO added another new tool, the Covaxin Emergency Use List, the eighth vaccine to receive WHO approval.

On this topic, Tedros continued to point to inequalities in vaccine distribution, saying that most low-income countries rely on UN-backed international COVAX initiative. According to him, the initiative has money and the necessary contracts, but “the producers did not play their role.”

“No more vaccines should be delivered to countries that have already vaccinated more than 40 percent of their population, while COVAX has the vaccines needed to help other countries get there, ”he said.

He stressed that boosters should no longer be introduced, with the exception of immunocompromised people, and reiterated his call for a moratorium on additional vaccinations.

A familiar new wave

According to the WHO, every country in Europe and Central Asia is facing a real threat of a COVID-19 resurgence or is already fighting it.

V statement released Thursday, the WHO Regional Director for Europe said the current rate of transmission in 53 countries WHO European Region “is of serious concern.”

The number of cases is again approaching record levels, with the more transferable variant of Delta continuing to dominate transmission, according to Dr. Hans Kluge.

More than 55% of new cases have been reported on the continent in the past 4 weeks. Last week, Europe and Central Asia accounted for 59 percent of all global cases and 48 percent of reported deaths.

“We are back in the epicenter,” said Dr. Kluge, adding that the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has more than doubled in one week.

There are upward trends in all age groups, but 75% of deaths occur in people aged 65 and over.

According to one estimate, if countries remain on this trajectory, another half a million people could die in Europe and Central Asia by February 1 next year.

Vaccines and social measures

According to the WHO regional director, this surge is due to two reasons: insufficient vaccination coverage and weakening of public health and social measures.

“Despite near-record COVID-19 cases, the number of new deaths is about half of the peak. This reflects the life-saving effect of vaccines and the titanic challenge for health authorities, healthcare professionals and communities to develop, introduce and adopt vaccines, ”said Mr Kluge.

So far, one billion doses have been administered in Europe and Central Asia.

However, the countries of Europe and Central Asia are at different stages of the pandemic. On average, only 47 percent of people have completed the vaccination. While eight countries have exceeded 70 percent coverage, two countries remain below 10 percent.

“The vaccines really do what they were designed to do: prevent serious illness and death,” said Mr Kluge.

With regard to public health and social measures, he said testing, contact tracing, indoor ventilation and physical distancing remain part of the protective arsenal.

“These are tried and tested measures that allow life to continue by controlling the virus and avoiding widespread destructive blockages,” he said.

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