The World Health Organization's (WHO) regional director for Europe has warned the continent could see a fresh wave of coronavirus cases by autumn.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Hans Kluge said that loosening restrictions in many countries and increased travel activity were increasing the risk of infection.
After 10 weeks of decline, the number of infected people in Europe rose again by 10% last week. This is happening against the backdrop of a further spread of the delta variant, which was first discovered in India and is considered particularly contagious.
"This is taking place in the context of a rapidly evolving situation: a new variant of concern – the Delta variant – and in a region where despite tremendous efforts by member states, millions remain unvaccinated," Kluge said.
By August, this form will be dominant in the European region, he said. Even by then, the population will not be completely vaccinated. Therefore, there is a risk of a new wave.
"Delta overtakes alpha very quickly through multiple and repeated introductions, and is already translating into increased hospitalizations and deaths," Kluge said. "Delays in getting vaccinated cost lives and economies, and the slower we vaccinate, the more variants will emerge."
He appealed to all people who now want to attend football matches or are planning a holiday trip to weigh the risks carefully and protect themselves.
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