WHO fears Europe could hit 2M covid-19 death

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The world Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that if urgent measures are not taken, Europe may see another 700,000 deaths from covid-19 by the spring.

WHO Director in Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, who gave the warning, said that cases jumped by 11 percent in Europe in the last week, the only region in the world where the virus has continued to increase since mid-October.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said cases and deaths globally have risen by about 6 percent, with about 3.6 million new infections and 51,00 new deaths reported in the previous week.

Meanwhile, Slovakia has reported its highest daily rise in new cases, just ahead of a government meeting likely to agree a short-term lockdown to quell the world’s fastest surge in infections.

Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million, has the highest per-capita infection rise in the world, according to figures from Our World in Data, as Europe becomes an epicentre of the pandemic again.

Austria has already locked down its population this week, for at least 10 days. With the development, Austria becomes the first to re-impose such restrictions.

In Germany, daily cases have hit a new record of 66,884, the highest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

Virus-related fatalities are also on the rise, with 335 further deaths over the last 24 hours, according to official data.

The Robert Koch Institute has confirmed 685,100 active cases, marking a new high in the current fourth wave of the pandemic. While Sweden says it would begin to gradually roll out vaccine booster shots to all adult Swedes following the surge in cases elsewhere in Europe, government and health officials said.

Sweden’s health agency said booster shots should be offered six months after the second shot, with a further rollout to risk groups and people aged 50 or above the priority before a gradual extension to all Swedes aged 18 or older.

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