GENEVA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Europe reported almost two million new COVID-19 infections last week, the largest weekly case count in the region since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said here on Friday.
There were also almost 27,000 coronavirus-related deaths in Europe, more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in the world last week, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.
He said that COVID-19 cases have been surging not only in countries with lower vaccination rates in Eastern Europe, but also in countries with some of the world's highest vaccination rates in Western Europe.
According to the WHO's weekly report on COVID-19, during the week of Nov. 1-7, the WHO European Region reported 1,949,419 new cases, a seven percent week-on-week increase, while other regions reported declines or stable trends. Europe's 26,726 new deaths represented a ten percent weekly jump, while other regions showed decreasing trends.
Of the European region's 61 countries, 26 reported increases of ten percent or more in the number of new cases in the past week, with the highest numbers coming from Russia, the United Kingdom and Turkey.
"Some European countries are now reintroducing restrictions to curb transmission and take the pressure off their health systems," Tedros said.
"We continue to recommend the tailored and proportionate use of testing, masks, physical distancing, measures to prevent crowding, improved ventilation, and more. And get vaccinated when it's your turn. Every country must constantly assess its situation and adjust its approach accordingly," he said.
Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, has recently noted that the surge in cases in Europe was occurring as temperatures were dropping and people were moving back inside with the perception that the pandemic was nearing the end. Meanwhile, some exhausted health workers were leaving the profession and some hospitals across Europe were forced to shut down their intensive care units and critical care services.
What is happening in Europe despite the availability of vaccines is "a warning shot for the world," Ryan said. "We all have to double down and recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to be the last person in the chain of transmission."
"I think every country now needs to look at its epidemiology, look at protecting its health workforce or its health system and ensure that it can get through the next few months without systems going into collapse again." Enditem