Covid: WHO warns Europe once again at epicentre of pandemic

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A doctor administers a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a woman holding a baby, in his doctor"s office in Berlin, Germany, November 2, 2021Image source, Reuters
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Vaccination rates have plateaued in Germany as cases rise

Europe is once again "at the epicentre" of the Covid pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, as cases soar across the continent.

At a press conference WHO Europe head Hans Kluge said the continent could see half a million more deaths by February.

He blamed insufficient vaccine take-up for the rise.

"We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of Covid-19 to preventing them from happening in the first place," he said.

The rate of vaccination has slowed across the continent in recent months. While some 80% of people in Spain are double jabbed, in Germany it is as low as 66% - and far lower in some Eastern European countries. Only 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated by October 2021.

Mr Kluge also blamed a relaxation of public health measures for rising infections in the WHO's European region, which covers 53 countries including parts of Central Asia. So far the WHO has recorded 1.4 million deaths across the region.

The WHO's technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said over the past four weeks cases across Europe had soared over 55%, despite an "ample supply of vaccines and tools", and colleague Dr Mike Ryan said Europe's experience was a "warning shot for the world".

It came as Germany recorded more than 37,000 daily Covid cases on Friday, a record high for the second day running. The incidence rate per 100,000 people is now higher than it was in April, at 169,9, but well below the level in the UK.

German public health officials are worried that a fourth wave of infection could lead to a large number of deaths and pressure on the health system. In the past 24 hours 154 deaths have been recorded, up from 121 a week ago.

Lothar Wieler of Germany's RKI institute spoke on Thursday of terrifying numbers. "If we don't take counter-measures now, this fourth wave will bring yet more suffering," he said. Among the many Germans who have not been vaccinated are more than three million over-60s, seen at particular risk.

But as Hans Kluge pointed out, the surge in cases is not confined to Germany.

The most dramatic rises in fatalities have been in the past week in Russia, where more than 8,100 deaths were recorded, and Ukraine, with 3,800 deaths. Both countries have very low rates of vaccination and Ukraine announced a record 27,377 new cases in the past 24 hours.

data in detail

Scroll table to see more data

*Deaths per 100,000 people

US 1,012,833 308.6 87,030,788
Brazil 672,033 318.4 32,535,923
India 525,242 38.4 43,531,650
Russia 373,595 258.8 18,173,480
Mexico 325,793 255.4 6,093,835
Peru 213,579 657.0 3,640,061
UK 177,890 266.2 22,232,377
Italy 168,604 279.6 18,805,756
Indonesia 156,758 57.9 6,095,351
France 146,406 218.3 30,584,880
Iran 141,404 170.5 7,240,564
Germany 141,397 170.1 28,542,484
Colombia 140,070 278.3 6,175,181
Argentina 129,109 287.3 9,394,326
Poland 116,435 306.6 6,016,526
Ukraine 112,459 253.4 5,040,518
Spain 108,111 229.6 12,818,184
South Africa 101,812 173.9 3,995,291
Turkey 99,057 118.7 15,180,444
Romania 65,755 339.7 2,927,187
Philippines 60,602 56.1 3,709,386
Chile 58,617 309.3 4,030,267
Hungary 46,647 477.5 1,928,125
Vietnam 43,088 44.7 10,749,324
Canada 42,001 111.7 3,958,155
Czech Republic 40,324 377.9 3,936,870
Bulgaria 37,260 534.1 1,174,216
Malaysia 35,784 112.0 4,575,809
Ecuador 35,745 205.7 913,798
Belgium 31,952 278.2 4,265,296
Japan 31,328 24.8 9,405,007
Thailand 30,736 44.1 4,534,017
Pakistan 30,403 14.0 1,539,275
Greece 30,327 283.0 3,729,199
Bangladesh 29,174 17.9 1,980,974
Tunisia 28,691 245.3 1,052,180
Iraq 25,247 64.2 2,359,755
Egypt 24,723 24.6 515,645
South Korea 24,576 47.5 18,413,997
Portugal 24,149 235.2 5,171,236
Netherlands 22,383 129.1 8,203,898
Bolivia 21,958 190.7 931,955
Slovakia 20,147 369.4 2,551,116
Austria 20,068 226.1 4,499,570
Myanmar 19,434 36.0 613,659
Sweden 19,124 185.9 2,519,199
Kazakhstan 19,018 102.7 1,396,584
Paraguay 18,994 269.6 660,841
Guatemala 18,616 112.1 921,146
Georgia 16,841 452.7 1,660,429
Sri Lanka 16,522 75.8 664,181
Serbia 16,132 232.3 2,033,180
Morocco 16,120 44.2 1,226,246
Croatia 16,082 395.4 1,151,523
Bosnia and Herzegovina 15,807 478.9 379,041
China 14,633 1.0 2,144,566
Jordan 14,068 139.3 1,700,526
Switzerland 13,833 161.3 3,759,730
Nepal 11,952 41.8 979,835
Moldova 11,567 435.2 520,321
Israel 10,984 121.3 4,391,275
Honduras 10,906 111.9 427,718
Lebanon 10,469 152.7 1,116,798
Australia 10,085 39.8 8,291,399
Azerbaijan 9,717 96.9 793,388
North Macedonia 9,327 447.7 314,501
Saudi Arabia 9,211 26.9 797,374
Lithuania 9,175 329.2 1,162,184
Armenia 8,629 291.7 423,417
Cuba 8,529 75.3 1,106,167
Costa Rica 8,525 168.9 904,934
Panama 8,373 197.2 925,254
Afghanistan 7,725 20.3 182,793
Ethiopia 7,542 6.7 489,502
Ireland 7,499 151.8 1,600,614
Uruguay 7,331 211.8 957,629
Taiwan 7,025 29.5 3,893,643
Belarus 6,978 73.7 982,867
Algeria 6,875 16.0 266,173
Slovenia 6,655 318.7 1,041,426
Denmark 6,487 111.5 3,177,491
Libya 6,430 94.9 502,189
Latvia 5,860 306.4 837,182
Venezuela 5,735 20.1 527,074
Palestinian Territories 5,662 120.8 662,490
Kenya 5,656 10.8 334,551
Zimbabwe 5,558 38.0 255,726
Sudan 4,952 11.6 62,696
Finland 4,875 88.3 1,145,610
Oman 4,628 93.0 390,244
Dominican Republic 4,383 40.8 611,581
El Salvador 4,150 64.3 169,646
Namibia 4,065 163.0 169,247
Trinidad and Tobago 4,013 287.7 167,495
Zambia 4,007 22.4 326,259
Uganda 3,621 8.2 167,979
Albania 3,502 122.7 282,690
Norway 3,337 62.4 1,448,679
Syria 3,150 18.5 55,934
Nigeria 3,144 1.6 257,637
Jamaica 3,144 106.6 143,347
Kosovo 3,140 175.0 229,841
Cambodia 3,056 18.5 136,296
Kyrgyzstan 2,991 46.3 201,101
Botswana 2,750 119.4 322,769
Montenegro 2,729 438.6 241,190
Malawi 2,646 14.2 86,600
Estonia 2,591 195.3 580,114
Kuwait 2,555 60.7 644,451
United Arab Emirates 2,319 23.7 952,960
Mozambique 2,212 7.3 228,226
Mongolia 2,179 67.6 928,981
Yemen 2,149 7.4 11,832
Senegal 1,968 12.1 86,382
Cameroon 1,931 7.5 120,068
Angola 1,900 6.0 101,320
Uzbekistan 1,637 4.9 241,196
New Zealand 1,534 31.2 1,374,535
Bahrain 1,495 91.1 631,562
Rwanda 1,460 11.6 131,270
Ghana 1,452 4.8 166,546
Singapore 1,419 24.9 1,473,180
Eswatini 1,416 123.3 73,148
Madagascar 1,401 5.2 65,787
DR Congo 1,375 1.6 91,393
Suriname 1,369 235.5 80,864
Somalia 1,361 8.8 26,803
Guyana 1,256 160.5 67,657
Luxembourg 1,094 176.5 265,323
Cyprus 1,075 89.7 515,596
Mauritius 1,004 79.3 231,036
Mauritania 984 21.7 60,368
Martinique 965 257.0 195,912
Guadeloupe 955 238.7 168,714
Fiji 866 97.3 65,889
Tanzania 841 1.4 35,768
Haiti 837 7.4 31,677
Bahamas 820 210.5 36,101
Réunion 812 91.3 422,769
Ivory Coast 805 3.1 83,679
Laos 757 10.6 210,313
Malta 748 148.8 105,407
Mali 737 3.7 31,176
Lesotho 699 32.9 33,938
Belize 680 174.2 64,371
Qatar 679 24.0 385,163
Papua New Guinea 662 7.5 44,728
French Polynesia 649 232.4 73,386
Barbados 477 166.2 84,919
Guinea 443 3.5 37,123
Cape Verde 405 73.6 61,105
French Guiana 401 137.9 86,911
Burkina Faso 387 1.9 21,044
Congo 385 7.2 24,128
Saint Lucia 383 209.5 27,094
Gambia 365 15.5 12,002
New Caledonia 313 108.8 64,337
Niger 310 1.3 9,031
Maldives 306 57.6 182,720
Gabon 305 14.0 47,939
Liberia 294 6.0 7,497
Curaçao 278 176.5 44,545
Togo 275 3.4 37,482
Nicaragua 242 3.7 14,690
Grenada 232 207.1 18,376
Brunei 225 51.9 167,669
Aruba 222 208.8 41,000
Chad 193 1.2 7,426
Djibouti 189 19.4 15,690
Mayotte 187 70.3 37,958
Equatorial Guinea 183 13.5 16,114
Iceland 179 49.5 195,259
Channel Islands 179 103.9 80,990
Guinea-Bissau 171 8.9 8,369
Seychelles 167 171.1 44,847
Benin 163 1.4 27,216
Comoros 160 18.8 8,161
Andorra 153 198.3 44,177
Solomon Islands 153 22.8 21,544
Antigua and Barbuda 141 145.2 8,665
Bermuda 140 219.0 16,162
South Sudan 138 1.2 17,722
Timor-Leste 133 10.3 22,959
Tajikistan 125 1.3 17,786
Sierra Leone 125 1.6 7,704
San Marino 115 339.6 18,236
St Vincent and the Grenadines 114 103.1 9,058
Central African Republic 113 2.4 14,649
Isle of Man 108 127.7 36,463
Gibraltar 104 308.6 19,633
Eritrea 103 2.9 9,805
Sint Maarten 87 213.6 10,601
Liechtenstein 85 223.6 17,935
Sao Tome and Principe 74 34.4 6,064
Dominica 68 94.7 14,852
Saint Martin 63 165.8 10,952
British Virgin Islands 63 209.8 6,941
Monaco 59 151.4 13,100
Saint Kitts and Nevis 43 81.4 6,157
Burundi 38 0.3 42,731
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba 37 142.4 10,405
Turks and Caicos Islands 36 94.3 6,219
Cayman Islands 29 44.7 27,594
Samoa 29 14.7 14,995
Faroe Islands 28 57.5 34,658
Bhutan 21 2.8 59,824
Greenland 21 37.3 11,971
Vanuatu 14 4.7 11,389
Kiribati 13 11.1 3,236
Diamond Princess cruise ship 13 712
Tonga 12 11.5 12,301
Anguilla 9 60.5 3,476
Montserrat 8 160.3 1,020
Wallis and Futuna Islands 7 61.2 454
Palau 6 33.3 5,237
Saint Barthelemy 6 60.9 4,697
MS Zaandam cruise ship 2 9
Cook Islands 1 5.7 5,774
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 1 17.2 2,779
Falkland Islands 0 0.0 1,815
Micronesia 0 0.0 38
Vatican 0 0.0 29
Marshall Islands 0 0.0 18
Antarctica 0 11
Saint Helena 0 0.0 4

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This information is regularly updated but may not reflect the latest totals for each country.

** The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average. Due to revisions in the number of cases, an average cannot be calculated for this date.

Source: Johns Hopkins University and national public health agencies

Figures last updated: 5 July 2022, 08:59 BST

Romania recorded its highest number of deaths in 24 hours this week at 591 while in Hungary, daily Covid infections have more than doubled in the past week to 6,268. Mask-wearing is only required on public transport and in hospitals.

"At the moment we seem to be hell-bent on a course that says the pandemic is over, we just need to vaccinate a few more people. That is not the case," said Dr Ryan, who called for every country to plug the holes in their response.

This week the Dutch government said it would reimpose mask-wearing and social distancing in many public settings as it emerged that hospital admissions had gone up 31% in a week.

Croatia recorded 6,310 new cases on Thursday, its highest number so far. Slovakia has reported its second highest number of cases and Czech infections have returned to levels last seen in spring.

England's deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said on Wednesday that too many people believed the pandemic was over.

However, in countries with the highest vaccination rates, infection rates are still relatively low.

Italy has one of the highest vaccination rates for over-12s but even here new cases are up 16.6% in the past week.

Portuguese infections have risen above 1,000 for the first time since September. Spain is one of the few countries not to see a rise in transmission with 2,287 cases reported on Wednesday.

Media caption,

Prof Van-Tam: "There are some hard months to come in the winter"