‘Don’t waste’ COVID-19 lockdowns, WHO Europe warns, as region is pandemic epicentre again Access to the comments

By Alice Tidey

European countries under lockdown should ensure “it’s not wasted” by preparing their health care systems for when restrictions are lifted, the region’s office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) told Euronews.

Europe is “once against the epicentre of the epidemic, together with the United States”, Dr Hans Kluge, the director of the WHO’s European Office told reporters on Thursday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the 51 member states of WHO Europe have reported more than 355,000 deaths and 15.7 million infections — which in both cases represent over a quarter of global totals.

So far this month, over four million cases have been confirmed across Europe and 80 per cent of the countries now have 14-day incidence rates greater than 100 per 100,000 population. In a third of the countries, the rate stands at more than 700 per 100,000 inhabitants which is putting significant pressure on health care systems, Kluge warned.

As a result of the second wave unfurling across Europe, most countries have reintroduced restrictive measures including national lockdowns in Austria, the United Kingdom and France.

Read more at www.euronews.com