The number of coronavirus cases in Europe has exceeded the 10 million mark since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 1.5 million cases confirmed last week alone, the World Health Organization’s Europe director Dr. Hans Kluge said Thursday.
“Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” Kluge said at a meeting alongside European health ministers.
“At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern and convey our steadfast commitment to stand beside you and support you as best we can.”
The situation in Europe: Kluge warned that hospitalizations have risen to “levels unseen since the spring,” with cases moving from 7 million to 9 million in the past two weeks and deaths rising by 32% across the region last week.
Testing systems have not kept up with “very high-speed transmission,” and test positivity rates have reached new highs in most European countries.
Return to lockdown: As Europe is well into its second wave, many countries are implementing new restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
With France introducing a national lockdown from Friday, Kluge said lockdowns were a “last resort option” because they bypass the “still-existing possibility of engaging everyone in basic and effective measures.”
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