On Thursday, the World Health Organization expressed “particular concern” about the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Balkans and Central Europe, noting that deaths and cases requiring hospitalization in the two regions are among the highest in the world.
The World Health Organization’s office in Europe also indicated that the situation is “the most dangerous” in regions that have succeeded in “controlling the disease in the first six months of 2020.”
“We are particularly concerned about the epidemiological situation in the Balkans as in many other countries across central Europe,” Catherine Smallwood, director of emergencies at the World Health Organization’s office in Europe, told reporters.
The WHO European office includes 53 countries and regions, and includes Russia and several countries in the Central Asian region.
The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said the launch of Covid-19 vaccines was not yet sufficient to curb the spread of the virus across the region.
He stated, “The trend continues to increase in cases and is moving east.”
He continued: “We have now witnessed three consecutive weeks of an increase in cases of Covid-19,” adding that more than 1.2 million new infections were recorded last week in the European region, according to the classification of the World Health Organization.
Although partial or complete lockdown measures have been imposed in many countries around Europe, Kluge said that some of them have begun to cancel restrictions on the assumption that an increase in vaccination “will immediately lead to an improvement in the epidemiological situation.”
“It is still too early to make such hypotheses,” he added.
But he stressed that vaccines will provide a way out of the epidemic in the end, and said: “Vaccines benefit and will allow in the end to return to a new normal.”