Coronavirus: ‘very significant’ resurgences in Europe alarms WHO

A scientist works in a laboratory analyzing coronavirus swabs in Glasgow, Scotland (June 10, 2020)Image copyright
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Nearly 20,000 new cases are reported daily in the WHO European region

Europe has seen an increase in weekly Covid-19 cases for the first time in months as restrictions are eased, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 11 countries, including Armenia, Sweden, Moldova and North Macedonia, accelerated transmission has led to a “very significant revival,” said Regional Director Dr. Hans Henri Kluge.

His warnings about the risk of resurgence had come true, he said.

If not controlled, he warned that health systems would be “pushed to the limit.”

Over 2.6 million cases of Covid-19 and 195,000 deaths have been reported in the WHO European region, which is expansive and covers 54 countries and seven territories in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Almost 20,000 new cases and more than 700 new deaths are recorded daily.

“For weeks, I have talked about the risk of a resurgence as countries adjust the measures,” Dr. Kluge said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.

“In several countries in Europe, this risk has become a reality: 30 countries have seen increases in new cases accumulated in the last two weeks.

“In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to a very significant resurgence that, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink once again.”

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Media captionCountries across Europe have begun to reopen their borders

Subsequently, the WHO identified the 11 countries as Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kosovo.

Dr. Kluge said that countries like Poland, Germany, Spain and Israel had responded quickly to dangerous outbreaks associated with schools, coal mines and food production environments, and controlled them through rapid interventions.

Despite warnings about resurgences, he said the WHO anticipated that the situation would calm down further in most countries during the summer.

“But in fact, we have to prepare for the fall, when Covid-19 can also cope with seasonal flu, pneumonia, and other diseases, because ultimately the virus is still actively circulating in our communities and there is no effective treatment, not an effective vaccine, yet. “

Germany and France pledge support

In a separate development on Thursday, Germany and France pledged their support for WHO after holding talks with their director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in Geneva.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said his country planned to donate more than 500 million euros ($ 560) to the agency this year.

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The health ministers of Germany and France expressed their support for the WHO in Geneva.

He stressed that global pandemics needed a coordinated global response, adding: “Isolated national responses to international problems are doomed to failure.”

France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran pledged € 50 million in direct funds for WHO and another € 90 million for his research center in Lyon.

“I really believe that the world needs a multilateral organization more than ever. I think the world cannot get rid of partners,” he said.

European leaders have been interested in showing their public support for WHO after the United States called the agency a “puppet of China” and said it would cut funds and leave.