World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge on Thursday raised “grave concern” about the rising pace of Covid transmission in Europe. “Last week with nearly 1.8 million new cases and 24,000 new deaths reported, Europe and Central Asia saw a six per cent increase and 12 per cent increase respectively, as compared to the previous week,” Kluge said during a press briefing. “Over the past four weeks Europe has seen a greater than 55 per cent increase in new COVID19 cases,” he added. Noting that Europe is once again “at the epicentre” of the pandemic, the WHO Regional Director said the current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region, is of grave concern. “COVID19 cases are once again approaching record levels – with the more transmissible Delta variant continuing to dominate transmission across Europe and central Asia,” Kluge said at the press conference.

The WHO official said there is a trend of the rapid increase in infection and fatality in the older population groups. Currently, 75 per cent of fatal cases in the region are in persons aged 65 years and above. “Hospitalization admission rates due to #COVID19 more than doubled in one week, based on WHO/Europe’s latest data,” Kluge said.

According to one reliable projection, if Europe stays on this trajectory, it could see another half a million COVID-19 deaths in the region by the first of February next year. WHO has attributed the rise in cases due to two reasons: insufficient vaccination coverage and the relaxation of public health and social measures. So far, Europe has reported over 77,527,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19.