WHO warns there is a death every 17 seconds from coronavirus in Europe
Dr Hans Kluge delivered the sobering message in his Thursday briefing
The World Health Organization has warned that one person dies from coronavirus every 17 seconds in Europe, with cases soaring across the continent in recent weeks.
Despite a wave of optimism surrounding the higher-than-anticipated success rates of a number of potential vaccines, Dr Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, spelled out the severity of the current situation during a press conference on Thursday.
“Europe accounts for 28 per cent of global cases, and 26 per cent of deaths cumulatively in the region,” he said.
“Last week, Europe registered over 29,000 new Covid-19 deaths. That is one person dying every 17 seconds.”
Dr Kluge also said that the 53 countries that make up WHO's European region had recorded in excess of 15.7 million Covid-19 cases during the pandemic, including 4 million in the last month alone. Of those cases, there have been close to 355,000 deaths.
Last week's death tally jumped by 18 per cent and the recent surge in cases, he added, had left health systems across the continent at risk of being overwhelmed.
Despite this, he also said that the introduction of tighter restrictions was starting to have a positive - if small - impact across Europe, with recorded cases dropping to 1.8million from over 2 million across the previous seven days. “It’s a small signal, but it’s a signal nevertheless,” he said.
England is currently in the grips of a second national lockdown, which is scheduled to end in the first week of December. Dr Kluge also explained that national lockdowns should only be seen as a last resort, and are avoidable if the use of masks reached 95%.