Why is Europe the Covid epicentre once again?

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier this month that Europe and Central Asia had become the new “epicentre” for the coronavirus pandemic and were facing 500,000 more deaths by February.

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Austria and the Netherlands have since imposed new lockdowns and Angela Merkel in Germany has urged non-vaccinated people to get the jab.

In Britain, Boris Johnson has warned of a “blizzard from the east” that could jeopardize the country’s lockdown-free status. However, the UK saw the region’s second-highest number of new Covid-19 infections in the WHO’s latest weekly disease round-up, behind only Russia.

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So what has gone wrong?

Fewer immunizations going on in many countries

Despite the power of vaccines to save lives, distribution remains low in parts of the region – specifically, the WHO says, in the Baltics, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe.

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According to experts, this is partly due to logistics problems but also due to lack of trust and decency among people.

While countries around the world have struggled with resistance to vaccines, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have low rates even for places where supply is not an issue. Bulgaria and Romania, both in the European Union, have about 23 percent and 35 percent of their populations, respectively, fully vaccinated. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, only 21 percent have received full vaccination.

Noting Romania’s slow response, physician and health statistician Octavian Jurma described his country as a “textbook example” of “the tragic consequences generated by the political takeover of the pandemic response”.

In Germany, anti-vaccine beliefs appear to overlap with support for right-wing or populist politics. Ms Merkel told Germans in her weekly video podcast that she was worried about what winter would bring, adding that “tough weeks are ahead”.

Germany’s caseload has rocketed in recent weeks, reaching record highs over the weekend. However, its 277.4 cases per 100,000 population was well below the UK’s figure of 354.6. bring us…

easing of lockdown restrictions

Britain is not the only country in the WHO’s European region that has relaxed or reluctant to implement public disease control measures in recent weeks.

When it warned that Europe had re-emerged as a viral epicenter, the WHO lamented the fact that seven countries had eased their stance, even though 23 others had “responsibly strengthened” .

“Testing, contact tracing, ventilation in indoor locations and physical distancing are all part of our arsenal,” the UN agency said this month.

Romanian leaders finally introduced a curfew this month requiring those who do not have a Covid pass – demonstrate proof of vaccination, recover from the virus or have a negative test result – to stay home between 10 pm and 5 am. Infections have dropped slightly since then, but hospitals are overwhelmed.

And Hungary’s government earlier this month ordered the wearing of masks on public transport and allowed private employers to administer vaccines for workers.

But the president of the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors, Gyula Kinseys, said it was “too little, too late” and that masks should be mandatory indoors.

In a recent interview, Hungary’s populist PM, whose party faces elections next spring, said compulsory vaccination “will be beyond the limits of what Hungarians will accept”, even as his new restrictions Recognizing that can only slow, cannot stop, the virus.

Hungary and Serbia have both said they prefer to rely on vaccinations to protect their citizens; However, hospitals in the latter country are so bogged down that some are treating only Covid-19 patients.

In Russia, most of the country’s 80-plus regions lifted a week-long workplace shutdown early last week to stem a surge in the number of cases, despite new cases nearing a record high. was designed for.

What is happening?

In the UK, Mr Johnson insisted there was no need to trigger his full “Plan B” for tackling the coronavirus this winter, despite the high infection numbers. He has no intention of canceling another Christmas. However, he has acknowledged Britons cannot be complacent about the situation and urged people over 40 to get a booster jab.

Wales has advised people to work from home and has introduced COVID passes for places such as cinemas due to high levels of the virus.

Elsewhere, however, governments are cracking down further.

Austria has placed some 2 million people in lockdown, with Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg saying: “We’ve told a third of the population, ‘You won’t leave your apartment anymore’ for some reason. This applies to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.” There is a huge lack of contacts between

The Netherlands has imposed a three-week partial lockdown, with non-essential shops closing at 6 p.m., reimposing the 1.5m social distancing rule and limiting four people 13 years of age or older to a home visit .

And the German federal government is due to meet the leaders of its 16 states this week to discuss tougher measures, although three parties in talks to form a new government after September’s elections called for a state of emergency that ends on November 25. Refused to renew.

The WHO has urged governments to “be vigilant, act quickly on any changes and stay ahead of the virus”. It also said that some 188,000 of the 500,000 deaths could be prevented by February next year if 95 percent of the region’s people religiously wore face masks.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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