Europe faces new judgment – .

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Europe faces new judgment – .


  • Europe accounts for half of the latest infections and deaths
  • Epidemics spark fears in winter months, economic impact
  • Various Nations Consider Unpopular Borders Again
  • Vaccines are not the silver bullet, experts warn

LONDON / MILAN, Nov. 12 (Reuters) – Europe has once again become the epicenter of the pandemic, prompting some governments to consider reimposing unpopular lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas and sparking debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19.

Europe accounts for more than half of the world’s 7-day average infections and around half of the latest deaths, according to a Reuters tally, the highest levels since April last year when the virus swept through the country. Italy for the first time.

The new uproar comes as successful vaccination campaigns have plateaued ahead of the winter months and flu season.

About 65% of the population of the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – received two doses, according to EU data, but the pace has slowed down in recent months.

Attendance in southern European countries is around 80%, but reluctance has hampered deployment in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, leading to epidemics that could overwhelm healthcare.

Germany, France and the Netherlands are also seeing an upsurge in infections, showing the challenge even for governments with high acceptance rates and dashing hopes that vaccines would mean a near-normal return.

Admittedly, hospitalizations and deaths are much lower than a year ago, and the large variations across countries in vaccine and booster use as well as measures such as social distancing make it difficult to draw conclusions for the. whole region.

“DO NOT REMOVE THE BALL FROM EYES”

But a combination of low vaccination rates in some areas, declining immunity among those vaccinated early, and complacency about masks and distancing as governments relax restrictions over the summer are coming. likely to blame, virologists and public health experts told Reuters.

“If there is one thing to learn from this, it’s not to take your eyes off the ball,” said Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School in the UK.

The World Health Organization’s latest report for the week of November 7 showed that Europe, including Russia, was the only region to record an increase in the number of cases, up 7%, while other regions reported declines or stable trends.

Likewise, it reported a 10% increase in deaths, while other regions reported declines.

The bleak outlook has thrilled businesses and governments alike, worried the prolonged pandemic will derail a fragile economic recovery, especially as transatlantic flights resumed this week and borders have started to reopen.

In Germany, some cities are said to have canceled Christmas markets again, while the Netherlands could close theaters and cinemas, cut big events and close cafes and restaurants earlier.

Most EU countries are rolling out additional injections for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, but expanding it to a larger part of the population and getting injections into the arms of adolescents should be a priority to avoid measures such as lockdown, scientists said.

“The real urgency is to widen the pool of vaccinated people as much as possible,” said Carlo Federico Perno, responsible for diagnostics in microbiology and immunology at the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.

ALSO PROTECT CHILDREN

The EU medicines regulator is evaluating the use of Pfizer’s vaccine and BioNTech in children aged 5 to 11.

The data justifies the steps.

German figures for the week through October 31 show that while the highest case loads are among relatively young people, people over 60 make up the majority of hospitalizations.

The hospitalization rate of unvaccinated over 60s is also considerably higher than that of vaccinated people.

Last month, around 56% of COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals and 70% in intensive care were unvaccinated or were only partially vaccinated.

“This (epidemic) will probably prompt the EU to look at the booster doses and say ‘we need it now’,” said Michael Head, senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton.

Still struggling to increase firing, the governments of Central and Eastern Europe had to take drastic measures.

Faced with its most serious outbreak to date, Latvia, one of the least vaccinated countries in the EU, imposed a four-week lockdown in mid-October.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia have also tightened restrictions. The Czech cabinet will examine on Friday whether further measures are needed.

In Western Europe, Dutch experts have recommended imposing a partial lockdown, the first in Western Europe since the summer.

In Germany, a bill would continue to apply measures such as mandatory masks and social distancing in public spaces until next March.

He reported a record 50,196 new cases on Thursday, the fourth consecutive daily record.

Some are holding up. Britain relies on booster shots for the over-50s to boost immunity, as pressure increases on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to implement his ‘Plan B’, involving mask warrants, vaccine passes and work-from-home orders.

Vaccines alone are not the silver bullet to beating the pandemic in the long run, virologists say.

Several cited Israel as an example of good practice: in addition to vaccinations, it has stepped up the wearing of masks and introduced vaccine passports after the peak of cases a few months ago.

Measures such as spacing, masks and mandatory vaccines for indoor sites are essential, said Antonella Viola, professor of immunology at the Italian University of Padua. “If either of those two things is missing, we are seeing situations like we are seeing in many European countries these days. “

Report by Joséphine Mason in London and Emilio Parodi in Milan; Additional reporting by Maria Sheahan in Berlin; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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