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In its weekly assessment of the pandemic released on Tuesday, the UN health agency said cases and deaths globally have risen by about 6%, with about 3.6 million new infections and 51,00 new deaths reported in the previous week.
WHO’s Europe director Dr. Hans Kluge warned that without urgent measures taken soon, the continent could see another 700,000 deaths by the spring.
“The European region remains in the firm grip of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kluge said, calling for countries to increase vaccination and to take other control measures like masking and social distancing to avoid “the last resort of lockdowns.”
He noted that while more than 1 billion vaccine doses have been administered across WHO’s European region, which stretches to central Asia, the range in vaccination coverage varies from 10% to 80%.
In the last week, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium have all adopted stricter measures including partial lockdowns to try to stem the latest surge of the coronavirus. Germany is also set to record more than 100,000