News ID: 96848
Publish Date : 21 November 2021 - 21:28

BRUSSELS (Dispatches) – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced another 500,000 people in Europe could die of COVID by March next year unless urgent action is taken.
The WHO’s Europe director, Dr Hans Kluge, said he was very worried about a fresh wave of infections that had spread across the continent and led countries to announce new restrictions.
Austria announced this week that it would become the first country to legally require people to have the vaccines from February. It has the lowest vaccination rate in Western Europe, and recorded another 15,809 cases on Friday. The country goes into a full lockdown for the third time on Monday until at least December 12.
Tighter restrictions have also been announced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Kluge added factors such as the winter season, when there is normally an increase in viral infections, and low vaccine coverage were responsible for the increase in cases.
He called for more people to get vaccinated, basic public health measures to be implemented and new treatments to be developed, but stated mandatory vaccination should be the last resort.
“COVID-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region,” he told the BBC, adding, “We know what needs to be done” to fight the disease.

‘U.S. Infections Rising’

America’s COVID infections are climbing again, and could soon hit a weekly average of 100,000 cases a day as daily case reports increase more than 20% across the upper Midwest.
The fresh worsening of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. comes as temperatures cool during the approach of winter, forcing people indoors where the virus is believed to spread more readily and may presage another wave, The Guardian reported.
It is also happening ahead of the Thanksgiving national holiday where tens of millions of Americans are expected to travel all over the country as families gather together in homes for the annual feast.
With medical authorities struggling to get adult vaccination rates above 60% nationally, the states first to experience the onset of winter – Michigan and Minnesota – lead the country “by a significant margin in recent cases per capita”, according to analysis by The New York Times.
Several states with high rates of early vaccination take-up, including New Mexico, New Hampshire and Vermont, are also reporting elevated COVID case levels, suggesting that the efficacy of vaccines may be diminishing in terms of infection.

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