Europe is the only region with more COVID, with cases up 11%

Europe is the only region with more COVID, with cases up 11%

Geneva The World Health Organization said coronavirus cases jumped 11% in Europe last week, the only region in the world where COVID-19 has continued to increase since mid-October.

Global cases and deaths rose by about 6%, the United Nations health agency said in its weekly assessment of the epidemic, with about 3.6 million new infections and 5,100 new deaths recorded in the previous week.

WHO Director of Europe Dr Hans Kluge has warned that without urgent measures being taken soon, the continent could see another 700,000 deaths by spring.

“The European region remains in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kluge said, calling on countries to increase vaccination and take other control measures such as masking and social distancing to avoid a “lockdown of last resort.”

He noted that while more than a billion doses of vaccine have been administered across the WHO’s European region, which extends into Central Asia, the vaccination coverage range is from 10% to 80%.

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Last week, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium all adopted stricter measures including partial lockdowns to try to stem the latest wave of coronavirus. Germany is also set to record more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, with some politicians now calling for a vaccine to be mandated, like the one ordered in Austria.

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Globally, the World Health Organization reported that COVID-19 in Southeast Asia and the Middle East decreased by 11% and 9%, respectively.

The largest decline in coronavirus deaths in the past week was seen in Africa, where deaths fell by 30%, continuing a downward trend for COVID-19 that first began in late June.

Although cases remained stable in the Americas, the World Health Organization said the number of deaths rose by about 19%.

The easier-to-spread delta variant remains the dominant version of COVID-19 globally, the agency said. Of the more than 840,000 sequences uploaded to the largest publicly available virus database in the past week, about 99.8% were delta variants.

Other variants including mu, lambda and gamma accounted for less than 1% – although they still made up a large proportion of the sequences from Latin America.

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