WHO's dire coronavirus warning over 'alarming rates of transmission'

·News Reporter
·3-min read

The World Health Organisation has warned Europe is facing "alarming rates of transmission" as a second wave of coronavirus infection sweeps the continent.

European director Hans Kluge said at a press conference to evaluate the latest infection data that Europe's weekly case rates, which have exceeded 300,000, are higher than during the first peak in March.

Countries including the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic are all experiencing surges in cases.

"Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," he said.

Two woman sitting by the water with a crowd of people in the Czech Republic, which recorded its highest increase of coronavirus cases.
The Czech Republic recorded its highest increase of COVID-19 infected patients since the beginning of the pandemic this week. Source: Getty

In the last two weeks, more than half of European countries recorded an increase of cases of more than 10 per cent and in seven of them, even doubled.

It follows a summer period where many countries opened their borders to allow holidaymakers to travel freely.

Beaches across Europe were routinely pictured packed with tourists as they lapped up the summer sun with little consideration for the threat the virus posed.

Many countries have now introduced restrictions on gatherings and made masks compulsory in public areas.

Images from Paris this week showed little urgency from locals and tourists, who flooded the city’s popular cafes and restaurants. Face masks are compulsory in the French capital’s public places.

On Saturday, France surpassed 10,000 daily infections for the first time during the pandemic.

A packed bar on the Rue de Seine in Paris.
A packed bar on the Rue de Seine in Paris on Sunday despite the recent rising in Covid-19 infections throughout France. Source: Getty
A packed cafe in Paris as Europe faces a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Paris's cafes and restaurants are still booming despite the second wave. Source: Getty Images

Europe has recorded 4,893,614 cases and 226,524 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

On Friday, global cases surpassed 30 million.

Dr Kluge called for "regional coherence" and co-ordinated action against the situation and the new peak of the pandemic.

He said there was still room for action, given also that coronavirus mortality is still lower than it was in March.

Dr Kluge called for vigilance as autumn approaches in the northern hemisphere bringing seasonal flu, increased mortality among the elderly and the re-opening of schools for the start of the academic year.

He added there had been increasing "fatigue and resistance in the behaviour that is helpful in fighting the virus".

The European director quarantine is a "cornerstone" in tackling the pandemic and the most conservative estimates are that it should be a period of 14 days, which includes the three to five days before and the five days after the appearance of symptoms.

with AP

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