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Europe at the centre of global pandemic, WHO says

Europe is once again at the centre of the global coronavirus pandemic, the regional office of the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Europe is once again at the centre of the global coronavirus pandemic, the regional office of the World Health Organization said Thursday.

“We are at another critical point in the resurgence of the pandemic,” said WHO Europe regional director Hans Kluge on Thursday during an online press conference.

The current rate of virus transmission in the 53 countries that make up the WHO Europe region is very worrying, he said, adding that it was not the time for complacency.

During the past four weeks, Europe has seen the number of new infections rise by more than 55 per cent. In the past week, 59 per cent of all coronavirus documented worldwide and 48 per cent of all related deaths occurred in the region.

There are two reasons for the increase: insufficient vaccination numbers and the relaxation of coronavirus-related restrictions, Kluge said.

The difference today, however, is that there are more tools and resources available to mitigate and reduce the harm to communities and society, he added.

Though vaccines were helping to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in some places, some countries in Europe and Central Asia are in different phases of their vaccination campaigns.

On average, only 47 per cent of people in the region have been fully vaccinated so far – and while eight countries come to over 70 per cent, the rate in two others is below 10 per cent, he said.

The Copenhagen-based WHO Europe counts 53 countries in the European region. In addition to the EU, this also includes more eastern parts of the continent such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

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