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COVID-19

Europe remains at risk of Autumn Covid resurgence, WHO warns

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Thursday that vaccination rates in Europe were still far off what was needed to stop a virus resurgence and called on countries to maintain protective measures.

Europe remains at risk of Autumn Covid resurgence, WHO warns
Guests sit outside a café after restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen outdoor seating amidst the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in Berlin, on May 22, 2021. Adam Berry / AFP

According to the organisation, 30 percent of people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 17 percent have been fully vaccinated in the WHO’s European Region — which spans 53 countries and territories and includes several in Central Asia.

“Although we have come far, we have not come far enough,” Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, told a press conference.

“Vaccination coverage is far from sufficient to protect the region from a resurgence. The distance to go before reaching at least 80 percent coverage of the adult population is still considerable,” Kluge added.

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

He noted that the region had seen an overall decline in new cases, hospitalisations and deaths for two consecutive months, but urged nations to avoid repeating the “mistake” of last summer by easing measures prematurely, leading to a resurgence in the autumn.

“Over the course of last summer, cases gradually rose in younger age groups and then moved into older age groups, contributing to a devastating resurgence, lockdowns and loss of life, in the autumn and winter of 2020,” Kluge said.

He called on countries to take “last year’s lessons aboard,” by acting fast on signals of increasing cases, expanding testing and contact tracing, and “rapidly attaining very high vaccine uptake in the most vulnerable populations.”

He also called on people to “enjoy the summer safely” by adhering to health guidelines.

Member comments

  1. Lol does Europe/Germany want this pandemic to actually ever end? Like get it together and vaccinate everyone by the end of this summer so we can have normal lives again. Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated has to be extra careful, but the rest of us, we need to go on and move on. But come on, another wave? Another lockdown? Another winter like this past year will destroy those of us who struggle with mental health. Make vaccination a priority. Vaccinate everyone everywhere asap. I don’t understand why it’s so hard here…….

  2. I read that the protection from the vaccination would last only for 6 months. So how does a vaccination from April to June make sense, when it is known that the Virus is mostly active in late autumn and winter?
    With this in mind: I wonder how 80% can reasonably be achieved for autumn and winter?

    1. That’s why they are discussing booster vaccinations..but if the rollout is as slow as the first ones were, another horrible winter. America may have had a lot more deaths, but in the end, they got their shit together. Here however…

      1. America had much lower mortality rate than many EU countries. If we were to put all the EU countries together, you would have more deaths than America. But it’s not the number of deaths, it’s the mortality rate and overall number of deaths per capita that matter. And there is a great deal of controversy over how some states counted covid deaths. If covid was present in a car accident fatality, for example, it was noted as a covid COD. And the number of excess deaths for 2020 do not support the number of covid deaths. It’s all smoke and mirrors in the end. And the WHO, as we saw in January 2020 when they declared on the 14th that there is no human-to-human transmission, is a feckless organization of bureaucrats from the scientific community under the control of, or at least under the heavy influence of the CCP.

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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