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 1,002,208 305.3 83,475,439
Brazil 666,676 315.9 31,019,038
India 524,636 38.4 43,160,832
Russia 371,464 257.3 18,063,880
Mexico 324,922 254.7 5,775,977
Peru 213,195 655.8 3,580,960
UK 177,890 266.2 22,232,377
Italy 166,697 276.5 17,421,410
Indonesia 156,591 57.9 6,054,973
France 145,101 216.4 28,703,050
Iran 141,315 170.4 7,232,034
Colombia 139,854 277.8 6,103,455
Germany 139,091 167.3 26,360,953
Argentina 128,889 286.8 9,230,573
Poland 116,318 306.3 6,007,584
Ukraine 112,459 253.4 5,040,518
Spain 106,493 226.2 12,360,256
South Africa 101,190 172.8 3,957,777
Turkey 98,965 118.6 15,072,747
Romania 65,684 339.3 2,909,195
Philippines 60,455 55.9 3,690,581
Chile 57,892 305.5 3,702,941
Hungary 46,547 476.4 1,919,840
Vietnam 43,079 44.7 10,719,379
Canada 41,070 109.3 3,884,792
Czech Republic 40,288 377.6 3,920,299
Bulgaria 37,148 532.5 1,165,167
Malaysia 35,676 111.7 4,506,510
Ecuador 35,637 205.1 877,282
Belgium 31,754 276.5 4,152,558
Japan 30,619 24.2 8,838,747
Pakistan 30,379 14.0 1,530,453
Thailand 30,047 43.2 4,459,241
Greece 29,845 278.5 3,453,229
Bangladesh 29,131 17.9 1,953,507
Tunisia 28,641 244.9 1,042,872
Iraq 25,219 64.2 2,328,154
Egypt 24,718 24.6 515,645
South Korea 24,197 46.8 18,119,415
Portugal 23,115 225.1 4,683,018
Netherlands 22,343 128.9 8,169,928
Bolivia 21,948 190.6 909,110
Slovakia 20,100 368.5 2,542,564
Austria 19,927 224.5 4,288,153
Myanmar 19,434 36.0 613,336
Kazakhstan 19,015 102.7 1,394,909
Sweden 18,977 184.5 2,507,948
Paraguay 18,894 268.2 650,661
Guatemala 18,152 109.3 861,002
Georgia 16,811 451.9 1,655,221
Sri Lanka 16,517 75.8 663,834
Serbia 16,081 231.5 2,017,454
Morocco 16,076 44.1 1,168,303
Croatia 15,987 393.0 1,136,500
Bosnia and Herzegovina 15,788 478.3 377,904
China 14,604 1.0 2,426,932
Jordan 14,066 139.2 1,696,937
Switzerland 13,800 160.9 3,674,986
Nepal 11,952 41.8 979,140
Moldova 11,537 434.1 518,793
Honduras 10,899 111.8 425,371
Israel 10,852 119.9 4,138,515
Lebanon 10,429 152.1 1,099,199
Azerbaijan 9,713 96.9 792,767
North Macedonia 9,303 446.5 311,936
Saudi Arabia 9,148 26.7 768,079
Lithuania 9,146 328.2 1,062,669
Armenia 8,625 291.6 422,963
Australia 8,558 33.7 7,312,403
Cuba 8,529 75.3 1,105,319
Costa Rica 8,525 168.9 904,934
Panama 8,255 194.4 858,268
Afghanistan 7,705 20.3 180,347
Ethiopia 7,513 6.7 472,743
Ireland 7,304 147.8 1,561,632
Uruguay 7,238 209.1 925,777
Belarus 6,978 73.7 982,867
Algeria 6,875 16.0 265,884
Slovenia 6,637 317.9 1,025,030
Libya 6,430 94.9 502,016
Denmark 6,363 109.4 3,136,896
Latvia 5,824 304.5 828,614
Venezuela 5,721 20.1 523,654
Palestinian Territories 5,660 120.8 657,705
Kenya 5,651 10.7 324,976
Zimbabwe 5,506 37.6 252,703
Sudan 4,942 11.5 62,355
Finland 4,522 81.9 1,092,193
Dominican Republic 4,377 40.8 584,029
Oman 4,260 85.6 389,473
El Salvador 4,132 64.0 162,755
Namibia 4,038 161.9 166,363
Zambia 3,987 22.3 321,779
Trinidad and Tobago 3,917 280.8 161,584
Uganda 3,602 8.1 164,366
Albania 3,497 122.5 276,101
Syria 3,150 18.5 55,892
Nigeria 3,143 1.6 256,028
Norway 3,141 58.7 1,433,641
Kosovo 3,139 174.9 228,359
Jamaica 3,056 103.7 137,266
Cambodia 3,056 18.5 136,262
Kyrgyzstan 2,991 46.3 200,993
Montenegro 2,720 437.2 237,223
Botswana 2,697 117.1 308,126
Malawi 2,640 14.2 85,985
Estonia 2,574 194.0 576,870
Kuwait 2,555 60.7 633,225
United Arab Emirates 2,305 23.6 908,205
Taiwan 2,255 9.5 2,032,983
Mozambique 2,203 7.3 225,754
Mongolia 2,179 67.6 925,073
Yemen 2,149 7.4 11,822
Senegal 1,966 12.1 86,111
Cameroon 1,930 7.5 119,947
Angola 1,900 6.0 99,761
Uzbekistan 1,637 4.9 239,046
Bahrain 1,488 90.7 585,665
Rwanda 1,459 11.6 130,057
Ghana 1,445 4.8 161,370
Eswatini 1,409 122.7 72,510
Madagascar 1,395 5.2 64,377
Singapore 1,389 24.4 1,303,294
Somalia 1,361 8.8 26,565
Suriname 1,350 232.2 80,547
DR Congo 1,338 1.5 88,374
Guyana 1,234 157.6 64,763
New Zealand 1,140 23.2 1,170,815
Luxembourg 1,073 173.1 244,182
Cyprus 1,059 88.4 489,963
Mauritius 996 78.7 225,862
Mauritania 982 21.7 59,141
Guadeloupe 947 236.7 157,865
Martinique 918 244.4 162,163
Fiji 864 97.1 65,007
Tanzania 840 1.4 35,354
Haiti 835 7.4 30,818
Bahamas 810 208.0 34,759
Ivory Coast 799 3.1 82,215
Réunion 777 87.4 414,615
Laos 756 10.5 210,026
Mali 734 3.7 31,097
Malta 721 143.4 94,742
Lesotho 698 32.8 33,358
Qatar 677 23.9 368,788
Belize 677 173.4 59,365
Papua New Guinea 651 7.4 44,481
French Polynesia 649 232.4 72,951
Barbados 450 156.8 80,654
Guinea 442 3.5 36,764
Cape Verde 402 73.1 56,324
French Guiana 397 136.5 82,952
Congo 385 7.2 24,079
Burkina Faso 384 1.9 20,899
Saint Lucia 371 203.0 25,593
Gambia 365 15.5 12,002
New Caledonia 313 108.8 62,193
Niger 310 1.3 9,031
Gabon 304 14.0 47,650
Maldives 299 56.3 179,753
Liberia 294 6.0 7,456
Curaçao 277 175.8 43,864
Togo 273 3.4 37,095
Nicaragua 238 3.6 18,491
Grenada 226 201.8 17,750
Brunei 223 51.5 148,674
Aruba 213 200.3 37,034
Chad 193 1.2 7,417
Djibouti 189 19.4 15,675
Mayotte 187 70.3 37,581
Equatorial Guinea 183 13.5 15,921
Channel Islands 176 102.2 76,190
Guinea-Bissau 171 8.9 8,269
Seychelles 167 171.1 44,016
Benin 163 1.4 26,952
Comoros 160 18.8 8,120
Iceland 153 42.3 188,291
Andorra 153 198.3 42,894
Solomon Islands 146 21.8 18,174
South Sudan 138 1.2 17,617
Bermuda 138 215.9 14,755
Antigua and Barbuda 138 142.1 8,253
Timor-Leste 131 10.1 22,915
Tajikistan 125 1.3 17,786
Sierra Leone 125 1.6 7,682
San Marino 115 339.6 17,124
Central African Republic 113 2.4 14,649
St Vincent and the Grenadines 107 96.8 8,670
Isle of Man 106 125.3 32,966
Eritrea 103 2.9 9,759
Gibraltar 102 302.7 18,419
Sint Maarten 86 211.1 10,353
Liechtenstein 84 220.9 17,469
Sao Tome and Principe 73 33.9 5,991
Dominica 65 90.5 14,184
Saint Martin 63 165.8 10,668
British Virgin Islands 62 206.5 6,765
Monaco 57 146.3 12,186
Saint Kitts and Nevis 43 81.4 5,729
Burundi 38 0.3 42,034
Turks and Caicos Islands 36 94.3 6,123
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba 35 134.7 10,091
Faroe Islands 28 57.5 34,658
Cayman Islands 28 43.1 25,318
Samoa 26 13.2 13,499
Bhutan 21 2.8 59,628
Greenland 21 37.3 11,971
Vanuatu 14 4.7 9,088
Kiribati 13 11.1 3,098
Diamond Princess cruise ship 13 712
Tonga 12 11.5 11,644
Anguilla 9 60.5 3,203
Wallis and Futuna Islands 7 61.2 454
Palau 6 33.3 5,065
Saint Barthelemy 6 60.9 4,630
Montserrat 6 120.2 980
MS Zaandam cruise ship 2 9
Cook Islands 1 5.7 5,675
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 1 17.2 2,748
Falkland Islands 0 0.0 1,687
Micronesia 0 0.0 30
Vatican 0 0.0 29
Marshall Islands 0 0.0 17
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: 1 June 2022, 10:24 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"