World Insights: Europe faces COVID-19 resurgence as winter approaches
31 October 2021 13:46

World Insights: Europe faces COVID-19 resurgence as winter approaches

PARIS. KAZINFORM COVID-19 in Europe is worsening as another winter approaches. It is the only region with increases in infections across all age groups, while five over regions have reported a decline last week, according to the World Health Organization on Friday.

«We know very well now that we will have to live with the virus at least until the summer,» French Minister Delegate in charge of Autonomy Brigitte Bourguignon said Thursday, noting that the winter would be «conducive to worsening of the situation,» Xinhua reports.

After battling the deadly coronavirus for nearly two years, patience among the public is wearing thin and vigilance is falling. In many countries, those who are vaccinated have begun to ignore health protocols, despite repeated warnings that vaccination is not a panacea. The outlook is bleak as more anti-virus measures are expected to be rolled out.

WORSENING EPIDEMIC ACROSS EUROPE

The WHO said Friday that European Region has reported four consecutive weeks of growing COVID-19 transmission, the only region to do so, which accounted for 57 percent of new cases around the world in the third week of October.

COVID-19 infections in England have increased to the highest level since the start of the year, official figures showed Friday. For the past seven days according to the WHO, Britain reported 294,934 confirmed cases, the highest in Europe, followed by Russia with 264,241 cases and Ukraine with 153,289 cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted earlier this month that the current «high levels» of infection in his country are «fully in line» with the predictions made earlier this year.

Across the English Channel, data published Friday by Public Health France confirmed the pandemic has returned to metropolitan France, noting that 44 French departments have exceeded the alert threshold, or 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

Germany's seven-day incidence rate continued to rise and reached 139.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the federal agency Robert Koch Institute announced Friday.

With 24,668 new infections registered within a day, Germany reported a total of 121,840 new cases for the past seven days.

Romania is also ravaged, hitting records in three main indicators since the pandemic began. The country reported 93,559 cases over the past seven days.

New infections in the Netherlands, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovenia and Bulgaria also reached record highs.

NATURAL, HUMAN FACTORS BEHIND RESURGENCE

Some health experts believe reasons for the resurgence lie mainly in the lifting or relaxation of restrictions, cold weather prompting an increase in indoor activities and the spread of the highly infectious Delta strain.

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said the surge seems related to the relaxation of COVID-19 measures a month ago, as well as the seasonal effect.

Official figures show that among those aged 12 and older who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, 52 percent were not vaccinated or fully vaccinated. Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said four out of five patients admitted into ICU had not been vaccinated.

Not enough vaccine coverage and a slower vaccination process have led up to the resurgence in several European countries.

By Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute, around 55.4 million people in Germany had been fully vaccinated, bringing the country's vaccination rate to 66.6 percent. Nonetheless, in its weekly report, the German agency warned the share of vaccinated people «hardly increased in recent weeks.»

Bulgaria has seen COVID-19 deteriorating because of the low vaccination rate, epidemiologist Petar Markov said. As of 0:00 on Friday, 2,824,345 doses had been administered in Bulgaria. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 25.5 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated, ranking last in the European Union.

Romanian experts pointed out that the low vaccination rate in Romania, slightly above 30 percent, and non-compliance with preventive measures have facilitated the virus' spread.


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