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WHO issues urgent warning as Covid cases spike in Europe for first time in six weeks


More than one million new cases of the virus were recorded last week across 51 countries in the WHO’s European region. This was a nine percent rise on the previous week and brought the six-week decline “to an end”.

According to Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO Europe’s director, Europe’s health systems “should not be in this situation”.

Dr Kluge said: “Continued strain on our hospitals and health workers is being met with acts of medical solidarity between European neighbours.

“Nonetheless, over a year into the pandemic, our health systems should not be in this situation.”

He urged countries to “get back to basics” by increasing vigilance for variants of the deadly virus.

The organisation revealed the UK variant of the virus has been reported in 43 countries within the region.

The South African and Brazilian variants have also been recorded in 26 and 15 countries respectively.

Dr Kluge told reporters last week how 45 of the region’s 51 countries have started vaccinations.

He continued: “1.9 percent of the population in 40 countries and 24.5 percent of health workers in 20 countries, have received their completed vaccination series against COVID-19.”

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Last week, Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s director for emergencies programme, issued a warning the pandemic will not be over before the end of the year.

WHO chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also called for greater vaccine solidarity.

He said it was “regrettable that some countries continue to prioritise vaccinating younger, healthier adults at lower risk of the disease in their own populations ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere”.

To date, there have been more than 100,000,000 cases around the world, with the total number of deaths reaching 2,601,527.

By the end of summer, the EU, UK and the US plan to have vaccinated the bulk of their adult populations.

So far, more than 22 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than one million have been fully vaccinated.

Today marks the start of the UK Government’s roadmap out of the current lockdown.

Schools across England have reopened today and one-to-one outdoor meetups are allowed again.

As part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, there will be further changes from March 29, with the hope for all restrictions to be eased by June 21.


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