Europe may see 236,000 COVID-19 deaths by December, WHO fears

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Aug 30, 2021, 06:13 PM(IST)

A file photo of a COVID-19 ward in a hospital.  Photograph:( Reuters )

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Kluge stated that 33 of WHO Europe's 53 member states had an infection rate of more than 10% in the previous two weeks, owing largely to the highly contagious delta variant.

The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern Monday about rising coronavirus transmission rates in Europe.

"Last week, there was an 11% increase in the number of deaths in the region — one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe by December 1," said Hans Kluge, the agency's Europe director, at a press conference in Copenhagen.

Since the start of the pandemic, Europe has recorded approximately 1.3 million coronavirus deaths. 

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Why is the number of COVID-19 deaths expected to rise in Europe?

The WHO Europe director, Hans Kluge, explained that three factors were concerning: high transmission rates, slowing vaccinations, and the relaxation of restrictions.

Kluge stated that 33 of WHO Europe's 53 member states had an infection rate of more than 10% in the previous two weeks, owing largely to the highly contagious delta variant.

Kluge described the virus's rapid spread as "deeply concerning, particularly in light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries." 

"In the past six weeks, it has fallen by 14%, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others," he added.

Despite the fact that nearly half of Europeans are now fully vaccinated, the number of people receiving vaccinations has slowed.

Vaccination rates were lower in poorer European countries, with some only vaccinating around 10% of healthcare workers. 

An "exaggerated easing" of restrictions, as well as an increase in people travelling abroad for the summer, have also contributed to the virus's spread.

(With inputs from agencies)

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