- Fifty-three countries in the WHO’s European region currently register just under 500,000 cases each day.
- Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal have the highest incidence rates.
- In Europe there are currently about 500 deaths a day.
The World Health Organization said on Thursday it expected “high levels” of Covid-19 in Europe this summer and called on countries to keep an eye on the spread as cases tripled in the past month.
“As countries across the European region have lifted social measures previously in place, the virus will be transmitted at high levels in the summer,” Hans Kluge, WHO Europe regional director, told AFP.
“This virus won’t go away just because countries stop looking for it. It’s still spreading, it’s still changing and it’s still costing lives.”
With the milder but more contagious Omicron subvariant BA.5 spreading across the continent, the 53 countries in WHO’s European region are currently registering just under 500,000 cases per day, according to the organization’s data.
That is an increase of about 150,000 cases per day at the end of May.
Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal were the countries with the highest incidence rates, with almost all countries in the region seeing an increase in the number of cases.
After recording around 4,000 to 5,000 deaths per day for most of the winter, Europe is currently seeing around 500 deaths per day, about the same level as during the summer of 2020.
We hope that the strong vaccine programs that most member states have implemented, along with previous infection, will lead us to avoid the more serious consequences that we saw earlier in the pandemic.
“However, our recommendations remain,” he emphasized.
The WHO urged people with respiratory symptoms to isolate themselves, stay up to date on their vaccinations and wear masks in crowded places.
Kluge also urged member states to continue testing for the virus.
“We need to keep looking for the virus because if we don’t, we’ll become increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and virus evolution,” Kluge said.
He also called on countries to increase their vaccination rates.
“High population immunity and the choices made to lower the risk for the elderly are key to preventing further deaths this summer,” he said.
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