Coronavirus cases in Europe surpassed 25 million on Thursday, according to a tally by Reuters. Several countries have reinstated or extended lockdowns as the resurgence in the pandemic threatens to overwhelm the health care systems.
More than 1,000 Covid-linked deaths in Germany
Germany registered 26,391 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and 1,070 deaths.
The Robert Koch Institute, the German government’s disease control agency, said the numbers remain skewed following underreporting and a true picture would not be available until 17 January.
Meanwhile Italy reported 414 coronavirus-linked deaths, according the health ministry. The daily tally of new infections fell to 18,020 from 20,331.
Italy has registered 77,291 coronavirus-related deaths since its outbreak came to light on 21 February, the second highest toll in Europe and the sixth highest in the world.
Slovakia has seen record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations in recent days, with more than 2,900 cases recorded on Tuesday.
Europe at a tipping point – WHO
The World Health Organisation said that Europe is at a tipping point in the course of the pandemic, as it warned that the coronavirus is spreading very fast across the continent. The situation has been described as alarming with the arrival of the UK variant.
WHO’s regional director, Hans Kluge, said that the approval of vaccines offered “new tools” to fight the virus. However, almost 53 countries in the continent were reporting a seven-day incidence rate of more than 150 new cases per 100,000 people while a quarter had recorded more than 10% surge in cases over the past week.
On the vaccine roll out, Kluge said that the rolling out of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could be flexible on the gap between first and second doses. He highlighted the importance of striking a balance between making the most of limited supplies and protecting as many people as possible.