Europe recorded a rise in weekly COVID-19 cases for the first time in months as restrictions are being eased across the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.
“Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months,” Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said at a weekly press briefing.
“Globally, with more than 9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 400,000 deaths reported to WHO, the pandemic continues to accelerate, and a record number of new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday, with 183,020 confirmed in 24 hours.”
More than 2.5 million cases have been recorded in Europe, said the WHO director.
While the European region now accounts for a decreasing proportion of global cases than earlier in the year, it continues to report close to 20,000 new cases and more than 700 new deaths every day.
“For weeks, I have spoken about the risk of a resurgence as countries adjust measures. In several countries across Europe, this risk has now become a reality – 30 countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks,” Kluge said, without naming the countries.
“In 11 of these countries, the accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgences that, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.”
“Where new clusters of cases appeared, these have been controlled through rapid and targeted interventions. This is very good news,” he added.
Support for WHO
WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn and his French counterpart Olivier Véran in Geneva on Thursday.
“WHO is honored to welcome you both here today, and we offer our sincere thanks for your expression of solidarity and support. We’re getting today all the support we need, political and financial, as has been said, and I would like to express my gratitude,” said Tedros.
Spahn said Germany, which will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union next week, will provide assistance worth over $500 million to the WHO.
He said many countries around the world remain in need of financial support and medical equipment.
“Therefore, we have offered WHO masks and medical equipment for distribution to countries in need. Including this medical equipment, the German Ministry of Health will be providing more than 500 million euro ($561) to WHO this year,” the German minister said.
“Global health and the support to WHO is a key theme during the current pandemic. This is why I have come to Geneva to discuss our EU presidency plans and ways to further support WHO at this critical moment in time.”
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