WHO director calls Covid-19 surge across Europe a ‘wake-up call’ – NBC News

As the World Health Organization warned about “alarming rates of transmission” in Europe, more than 30 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data tally.

Surging figures across Europe should serve as “a wake-up call”, the World Health Organization’s regional director, Dr. Hans Kluge told a media briefing Thursday.

“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” he told reporters.

Sept. 17, 202001:54

There have been five million confirmed cases and more than 228,000 fatalities across Europe since the pandemic began, according to the WHO.

Globally, the virus has killed more than 946,000 people, the John Hopkins data showed, although 20.5 million people have recovered.

In a separate statement, Kluge also warned that “fatigue is an expected and natural response to a long-standing public health crisis.”

Focusing on young people, who have been blamed for the rising spread in many countries, Kluge said governments need to “make an effort to understand the barriers they face” and “acknowledge the hardship and empathize, and make them part of the solution.”

In Britain, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned Friday that hospital admissions were doubling every eight days but said implementing a second nation-wide lockdown would be a last resort.

Students wait for the train to go to the university, during a precise moment of rush hour in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday.Emilio Morenatti / AP

Already 10 million people in the country are affected by localized lockdowns intended to curb the spread in virus hotspots. While new infections were up between 3,000 and 4,000 daily last week, the U.K. still trails behind the spike seen in France, where more than 10,000 new cases were recorded Thursday and an average 8,800 daily cases have been reported over this week.

Elsewhere, at the beginning of the Jewish High Holiday season, Israel will enter a second lockdown on Friday ascases soar in the country of around 9 million people.

The Americas, however, remain the epicenter of the pandemic.

The United States continues to lead the world with more than 6.7 million cases and 198,886 deaths, according to NBC News’s tracking.

In Latin America, despite accounting for less than 10 percent of the global population, the region has reported over 33 percent of Covid-19 deaths in the world.

Brazil has the third highest confirmed cases in the world following India with 4.45 million people infected and 134,935 people killed as of early Friday.

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Other countries in the region are also seeing concerning increases, according to Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the WHO’s regional director for the Americas.

Parts of Colombia near the Venezuelan border have seen confirmed cases jump by more than ten-fold over the last two weeks, and similar similar trends have been noted in Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, Etienne said in a statement Wednesday.

The rise in island nations and regions that were previously virus-free has Etienne calling for stricter measures on travel.

Clowns Perlita and Tapetito, wearing protective gear amid the coronavirus pandemic, speak with resident Enrique Zeballos as they arrive to disinfect his home free of charge in El Alto, Bolivia, last week.Juan Karita / AP

“When people travel between countries, so does the virus,” she said. Because of the high price of testing, Etienne said countries should enforce quarantine measures on people who show symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.

She also warned leaders not to heed public pressures to ease lockdown measures if track and trace systems and hospital resources are still falling short.

“It is not the time to re-open. Doing so would risk a handful of cases in one area becoming a full-blown outbreak,” she said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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WHO director calls Covid-19 surge across Europe a ‘wake-up call’ – NBC News

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