Scottish fans arrived at King’s Cross Station on 17 June 2021 in London, the capital of England. Football matches played during the Euros have led to an increase in the number of Covid cases.
Rob Pinni | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
A new wave of coronavirus cases could soon reach Europe, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday, noting that the decline in the number of infectious diseases in the region is over.
“The 10-week decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in 53 countries in the WHO European Region has come to an end,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge warned at a press briefing.
“The number of illnesses increased by 10 per cent last week, which was due to interference, travel, increased meetings and reduced social barriers,” he said.
The increase in cases comes amid a “rapidly evolving situation,” Kluge said, given a new delta strain dubbed a type of concern by WHO in May.
Millions of people in Europe remain unvaccinated, Kluge warned, with protection from the delta option, mainly by offering two doses of Covid vaccines. Kluge reiterated that the data had already shown that the delta variant was much more permeable than the alpha variant (which itself was more permeable than previous strains).
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“Delta is rapidly capturing the alpha … and increasing hospitalizations and deaths,” Kluge said. He said the delta option would dominate the World Health Organization’s European region until August, and vaccines would still not be available.
“By August, the WHO European region will be‘ delta-dominant ’,” he said, adding that 63% of people are still waiting for their first bullets, and restrictions on public life could be lifted by next month. For example, the UK, which has a high vaccination rate but has many cases resulting from the delta option, plans to end the restrictions on 19 July.
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Klugene said there are three conditions for a “new hospitalization and a new wave of deaths” to emerge before the collapse: new options, a shortage of vaccine consumption, and increased social intervention.
“If we are not disciplined, a new wave will emerge in the European region of the World Health Organization and there will be no need to follow more rules,” he warned.
Others are now following the UK, with delta options in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Russia, especially among younger, unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated people.
Read more: Europe wants to stop the Covid delta option. But experts say it may be too late
The increase in mixing has not helped prevent the spread of the option with meetings and crowds as meetings are taking place, especially given the current UEFA Euro 2020 tournament across the continent.