Coronavirus cases rose 11% in Europe in the last week, the only region in the world where COVID-19 has continued to advance since mid-October, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
In its weekly report, the United Nations health agency explained that globally cases and deaths have increased by around 6%, with some 3.6 million new infections and 51,000 new deaths reported in the last week.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO director for Europe, warned that if urgent action is not taken soon the continent could record another 700,000 deaths by spring.
“The European region remains under the firm grip of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kluge, who asked countries to increase the vaccination rate and adopt other control measures such as the use of masks or the safety distance to avoid “The last resort of confinements”.
Although more than 1 billion people have completed the vaccination schedule in the European region according to the WHO – which extends to Central Asia – the national percentage ranges between 10 and 80%.
In the last week, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium have enacted strict measures, including partial quarantines, to try to stem the latest wave of the coronavirus. In Germany, which is set to exceed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, some politicians are now calling for mandatory vaccination, as in neighboring Austria.
In the rest of the world, coronavirus infections fell in Southeast Asia and the Middle East by 11% and 9%, respectively.
The largest decrease in deaths from the virus in the last week was seen in Africa (30%), which follows the trend that began at the end of June.
Although the number of infections remained stable in America, the agency pointed out that deaths increased by about 19%.
The more easily spread delta variant remains the predominant version of COVID-19 worldwide, the report added. Of the more than 840,000 sequences added in the last week to the largest public database of the virus in the world, around 99.8% were of this variant.
Others, including mu, lambda and gamma, accounted for less than 1%, although they still have an especially high percentage in Latin America.