As Covid-19 infections spike to document numbers, European governments are imposing strict native measures and weighing up additional lockdowns in a bid to halt a second wave of the pandemic.
However WHO regional director Hans Kluge mentioned at a Thursday information convention that the rise in instances ought to function a warning of what’s to return.
“Weekly instances have now exceeded these reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” Kluge mentioned. “Final week, the area’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 sufferers.”
Greater than half of European nations have reported a rise of greater than 10% in new instances up to now two weeks, Kluge added. “Of these, seven international locations have seen newly reported instances improve greater than two-fold in the identical interval,” he mentioned.
“Within the spring and early summer time we had been capable of see the impression of strict lockdown measures. Our efforts, our sacrifices, paid off. In June instances hit an all-time low. The September case numbers, nonetheless, ought to function a wake-up name for all of us,” he mentioned.
“Though these numbers replicate extra complete testing, it additionally reveals alarming charges of transmission throughout the area.”
Whereas there was a rise in instances in older age teams, these aged 50 to 79, within the first week of September, Kluge mentioned, the most important proportion of latest instances remains to be amongst 25- to 49-year-olds.
Nations throughout the continent have been easing lockdowns and reopening their economies, however governments at the moment are scrambling to avert additional outbreaks.
“This pandemic has taken a lot from us,” Kluge mentioned, citing the practically 4.9 million recorded Covid-19 instances in Europe and greater than 226,000 deaths. “And this tells solely a part of the story,” he mentioned. “The impression on our psychological well being, economies, livelihoods and society has been monumental.”
Instances in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy have additionally elevated.
New restrictions had been imposed throughout England this week barring folks from assembly socially in teams of greater than six, of all ages, indoors or outdoor. Scotland and Wales have additionally tightened their social distancing guidelines.
From Friday, even stricter measures will apply within the northeast of England amid a “regarding rise” in Covid-19 an infection charges there, UK Well being Secretary Matt Hancock introduced in Parliament on Thursday.
The measures embrace a ban on socializing exterior households or “assist bubbles” and a mandated closing time of 10 p.m. for all bars, pubs, eating places and leisure facilities. They may apply to seven areas — together with the cities of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham — and can have an effect on greater than 1.5 million folks.
Hancock confused the necessity to take “fast motion” in opposition to the virus with winter approaching.
At the least 41,773 folks have died with coronavirus within the UK, in accordance with JHU, the best toll in Europe and fifth-largest variety of any nation on the planet.
The UK authorities has come underneath strain over current failings in its coronavirus testing system, with some folks — together with well being care employees — experiencing problem in accessing checks or being directed to testing websites removed from dwelling.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended Britain’s coronavirus testing document Wednesday, saying it in contrast favorably to different European international locations and that current issues had been resulting from a “colossal spike” in demand.
WHO chief: We will battle the virus again once more
Authorities within the Spanish capital of Madrid are to announce new coronavirus restrictions on Friday because the nation additionally responds to an uptick within the variety of instances.
Spain has now recorded greater than 30,000 deaths for the reason that begin of the outbreak, with greater than 600,000 complete instances.
Madrid accounts for about a 3rd of all new instances, in accordance with information from the nation’s well being ministry.
The president of Madrid’s regional authorities, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has steered that migrant populations are partly guilty.
“(The outbreaks are partly) because of the lifestyle of Madrid’s immigrants and the inhabitants density of those districts,” she mentioned Tuesday. “It’s a lifestyle in Madrid.”
The state prosecution service in Munich mentioned it had launched an investigation into the American who could have brought on the surge in instances.
New rules imposed within the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen over the weekend imply native bars will now shut at 10 p.m. Events are restricted to 100 folks — down from 200 — and teams consuming indoors are capped at 5, down from twice that.
In neighboring Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has warned residents that extra instances are on their means. ”We’re originally of the second wave,” he tweeted Sunday. “We face troublesome months within the autumn and winter. The variety of infections is growing from daily.”
Kurz requested Austrian residents to proceed to stick to all virus measures and scale back social contacts.
In the meantime international locations together with Greece and Croatia, largely spared by the primary wave, noticed quick case quantity rises in August as vacationers took summer time holidays following the reopening of Europe’s inner borders in June.
Kluge urged “an amplified collective effort by all European member states for the sake of all European member states,” as he addressed the media Thursday.
“The response to the disaster has been very efficient each time the actions had been immediate and resolute however the virus has proven (itself to be) cruel each time partisanship and disinformation prevailed,” he mentioned.
“The place the pandemic goes from right here is in our fingers. Now we have fought it again earlier than and we are able to battle it again once more.”
CNN’s Zamira Rahim, Lindsay Isaac, Simon Cullen, Stephanie Halasz, Laura Perez Maestro, Ingrid Formanek, Melissa Bell and Pierre Bairin contributed to this report.