The Strategist

WHO: High vaccination rates in Europe cannot stop COVID-19

11/16/2021 - 09:31

A new wave of COVID-19 is sweeping Europe, forcing authorities in the region to take tough action.

Sebastian Rothwyn
Sebastian Rothwyn
Unvaccinated residents in Austria, for example, have been allowed to leave their homes only in exceptional cases since Monday, and German authorities are preparing to mobilise up to 12,000 troops to help the medics. The Christmas holidays in Europe are likely to be restricted.

Among European countries, the UK and Germany have the highest number of people infected. According to Our World In Data, more than 250 000 people were infected in each of these countries during the week. On November 10, Germany reported a record high of more than 50 000 cases per day during the pandemic.

The number of people infected with the disease has increased sharply in Austria as well as in Eastern Europe. According to the AP news agency, the morgue at the main hospital in Bucharest, Romania's capital, has been running out of places in recent days. "Our country is experiencing a real catastrophe - hundreds and hundreds of victims every day," Romanian President Klaus Iohannis admitted as recently as last month. Only a third of the country's citizens have now been fully vaccinated.

In Europe as a whole, the situation is alarming. "We are in the middle of it again", said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe at the start of November. He said all 53 countries in the region faced a "real risk of a resurgence of COVID-19 or were already struggling with it". "According to one credible forecast, if the trend continues, we could see another half a million deaths from COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia by 1 February next year," he warned, asking European authorities not to relax quarantine measures.

Not all Europeans are happy about the restrictions. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Dutch cities after the Dutch government announced a partial lockdown on Friday. Fifteen people were arrested. Protests swept across a number of other countries in October. Thousands of people took to the streets in France and Estonia, for example, demanding the abolition of compulsory vaccinations. Workers in Italian ports went on strike en masse against the introduction of compulsory COVID certificates.


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