A third wave of infections is now inevitable unless citizens and lawmakers are “disciplined,” warns the World Health Organization (WHO), saying a 10-week decline in new coronavirus infections throughout the world. Europe has come to an end.
The number of new cases across Europe grew by 10 percent last week, the regional director of the UN Health Agency for Europe, Hans Kluge, said Thursday in Copenhagen, Denmark, a press conference.
The WHO’s European region of 53 nations includes all 27 member states of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, several Central Asian nations and Israel.
Kluge said the increase in infections has been driven by an increase in mixing, travel, meetings and loosening of social restrictions, as countries in the region are moving away from blockade measures.
“This is happening in the context of a rapidly evolving situation. A new primary variant – the Delta variant – is in a region where, despite the tremendous efforts of Member States, millions remain unvaccinated, ”he said, citing the strain discovered for the first time in India.
“There will be a new wave in the WHO European region, unless we remain disciplined.”
Last week, the number of cases grew by 10%, driven by an increase in mixing, travel, meetings and loosening of social restrictions. This is happening in the context of a rapidly evolving situation – @Corse_Matin
– WHO / Europe (@WHO_Europe) July 1, 2021
Kluge noted that the highly infectious Delta variant was on track to become the dominant variety in the WHO European region by August.
“Conditions for the new wave in situ”
He said the vaccines had not been fired efficiently enough to offer the necessary protection in the midst of the wave, with 63 percent of people in the region have not yet received a first dose.
Vaccines have been shown to offer some protection against the Delta variant, but a higher level requires two doses.
Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccination strategy at the European Medicines Agency, told a news conference on Thursday: “Data emerging from real-world evidence show that two doses of vaccine are protective against the Delta variant.”
Kluge said the average vaccine coverage in the European region was 24%.
Half of the elderly and 40 percent of health workers were still without protection, he said.
“This is unacceptable, and this is far from the coverage of 80% of the adult population,” he told reporters.
“The three conditions for a new wave of excessive hospitalization and death before the autumn are therefore in place: New variants, deficit in vaccine intake, increased social mix.”
Kluge has advised people who want to travel and reunite during the European summer to continue “wild reflexes” such as wearing masks.
The EU launches a travel certificate
His appeal came when the EU on Thursday launched a COVID digital certificate system designed to help people travel more freely in the bloc of 27 nations and open up summer tourism.
The document – essentially a QR code – is free to obtain and will show if the wearer is fully vaccinated with one of the four EU-approved jabs, made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
It will also indicate whether a person has recovered from COVID, or has a recent negative test result, and will be issued and valid in all EU countries, established in the national language and in English.
The system also extends to countries outside the EU of the Schengen area without borders – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
About 40 percent of all EU adults are fully vaccinated.
While a UN study this week welcomed the EU’s COVID-19 step as a rare example of countries harmonizing travel arrangements, it is not expected to be able to fully save the tourism industry. .
It does not eliminate limitations for those who are not fully vaccinated – meaning that many travelers, including children, still need to take COVID-19 tests – and specific travel rules are still set by national governments.