The WHO was deeply concerned about this outbreak. But not all countries agree to return to confinements.
The WHO regional office expressed deep concern on Thursday after Europe once again recorded its highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 infections, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “a difficult winter, France dawned this Friday in a new confinement for a month and the Cortes Generales of Spain extended the state of emergency.
During a meeting with European health ministers, the WHO director for the region, Hans Kluge, said that “hospitalizations have increased to unseen levels since the spring ” boreal and there has been an increase of more than 30% in deaths. He stressed that Europe has reported more than 10 million of coronavirus cases and “is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again.”
“At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must say that we are really worried” Kluge said.
At the end of a virtual EU summit, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared that the increase in infections “is very serious. Cases are increasing. Hospitalizations are increasing. Deaths are on the riseFortunately not so fast … but the spread will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we don’t act urgently. ”
Von der Leyen reported that Brussels will make 220 million euros ($ 257 million) available to help EU countries organize the cross-border transfer of infected patients.
During the meeting, officials discussed how to best coordinate their testing for the virus, contact tracing and vaccination plans, despite the discrepancies between their countries in terms of imposing total or partial confinements.
Hours earlier, Merkel told the German parliament that her country faces “a dramatic situation at the beginning of the cold season.”
Germany’s disease control agency indicated that local authorities reported that 16,774 tests tested positive for COVID-19 in the last day, bringing the total number of cases in the country closer to half a million. The total number of deaths is 10,272.
“Winter will be difficult, four long and difficult months. But it will end, ” Merkel assured lawmakers.
According to the new restrictions that take effect on Monday, restaurants, bars, and sports and cultural facilities will be closed for four weeks. Meetings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of two families and all non-essential travel will be discouraged. Schools, kindergartens, shops and temples will remain open, although preventive measures must be implemented.
Merkel said authorities had no choice but to drastically reduce social contacts because three-quarters of infections in Germany are no longer traceable.
“If we wait until the intensive care units are full, it will be too late,” he said.
Berlin announced a new fund of 10 billion euros ($ 11,700) to support businesses affected by the additional measures.
For its part, France announced a second nationwide lockdown on Wednesday, but other countries have hesitated to take such drastic measures for the second time in a year, wary of the resulting painful economic consequences.
Some French Doctors they expressed their relief and business owners, their despair, as the country entered a new quarantine this Friday.
The new confinement in France is less severe than the tax at the beginning of the year, but it’s still harsh on restaurants and other nonessential businesses that have been ordered to close their doors.