The number of COVID-19 cases has passed the milestone of 60 million in the WHO European region since the pandemic began, new data from the WHO Regional Office for Europe shows.
Dr. Dorit Nitzan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for Europe said, “The end of the pandemic is still over the horizon and sadly so far in the European region there have been more than 1.2 million COVID-19 deaths. It is important that countries continue their combined efforts to protect their most vulnerable people and those at risk.
“Overall vaccination uptake varies widely between the Member States in the WHO European Region and the vaccination coverage amongst the priority population groups such as the over 60s, health care workers, people living in long-term care facilities, and those with underlying conditions is still low in a few countries. As vaccines are proven effective in preventing severe illness and deaths, more cases in these priority groups will mean more hospitalizations and deaths. So we must urgently get all the priority groups vaccinated.
“For the pandemic to end we must rapidly scale up vaccinations equitably in all countries, including supporting vaccine production, as appropriate, and sharing of doses, as relevant, to protect the vulnerable population in every country.
“In addition, we must continue to follow the public health and social measures including testing, sequencing, tracing, isolation and quarantine. As well as hand washing and wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing in places that are crowded, confined and closed.”
During Europe’s summer season, the WHO has cautioned of the risks of travel, saying that it and mass gatherings can increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
To help reduce the risk of being infected with the virus this summer, follow the WHO Regional Office for Europe’s #SummerSense practical measures.
“Travel is not risk free. Traveling and mass gathering can increase your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you want to travel, think about the need and assess your risks. Your decision counts for ending this pandemic. If you decide to travel and gather, do it safely:
- Remember the 3 Ws – wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.
- Measure your risk door to door: from the moment you close the door of your place to the moment you open it again, assess step by step the risk you are exposed to and take the right precautions. Cleaning hands frequently, keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask are proven to protect you.
- Avoid the three Cs; more than the travel itself, it is the place that matters. Settings that are Closed, Confined or Crowded, will put you at higher risk of being infected with COVID-19. Choose open, ventilated settings, keep at least one-meter distance from others, and wear your mask. In many settings it might be impossible to avoid all three Cs,” warns the WHO.