The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that a “very serious situation” is unfolding in Europe, as "alarming rates of transmission" of the coronavirus surge across the continent.
“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge said during a press conference on Thursday.
“Last week, the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”
Kluge added that more than half of Europe's countries have reported an increase of more than 10% in new cases in the past two weeks.
"Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than two-fold in the same period,” he said.
Kluge also said the increase in cases should serve as a warning of what is to come.
“In the spring and early summer we were able to see the impact of strict lockdown measures. Our efforts, our sacrifices, paid off,” he said. “In June, cases hit an all-time low.”
“The September case numbers, however, should serve as a wake-up call for all of us."
“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region”