LONDON: The World Health Organisation reported on Wednesday that coronavirus deaths rose by 10pc in Europe in the past week, making it the only world region where both Covid-19 cases and deaths are steadily increasing. It was the sixth consecutive week that the virus has risen across the continent.
In its weekly report on the pandemic, the UN health agency said there were about 3.1 million new cases globally, about a 1pc increase from the previous week. Nearly two-thirds of the coronavirus infections — 1.9 million — were in Europe, where cases rose by 7pc.
The countries with the highest numbers of new cases worldwide were the United States, Russia, Britain, Turkey and Germany. The number of weekly Covid-19 deaths fell by about 4pc worldwide and declined in every region except Europe.
Out of the 61 countries WHO includes in its European region, which includes Russia and stretches to Central Asia, 42pc reported a jump in cases of at least 10pc in the last week.
In the Americas, WHO said that new weekly cases fell by 5pc and deaths declined by 14pc, with the highest numbers reported from the United States. On Tuesday, pharmaceutical company Pfizer asked the US Food and Drug Administration to authorise booster shots of coronavirus vaccines for all adults.
WHO has pleaded with countries not to administer more boosters until at least the end of the year; about 60 countries are actively rolling them out. In Southeast Asia and Africa, Covid-19 deaths declined by about a third, despite the lack of vaccines in those regions.
WHO’s Europe director, Dr. Hans Kluge, said last week that Europe was once again back at the epicenter of the pandemic. He warned that if more actions weren’t taken to stop Covid-19, the region could see another 500,000 deaths by February.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021