The World Health Organization said that Europe has seen a rise in the number of cases recorded weekly for patients with Covid-19 for the first time in months, with the easing of restrictions imposed in those countries.
WHO Regional Director Hans Henry Klug said that the accelerated transmission of infection in 11 countries, including Armenia, Sweden, Moldova and northern Macedonia, had led to a “very strong surge” in the spread of the disease.
He added that his warnings about the danger of a new mutation in the spread of the disease had become a reality, warning that health systems could “reach the brink of an abyss” if the situation remained like this.
The WHO office in Europe has recorded more than 2.6 million HIV infections and 195,000 deaths in its area of work, which includes 54 countries and seven territories across Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Every day 20,000 new infections and more than 700 deaths are recorded.
“I talked for several weeks about the potential danger of a new boom, as countries adjusted the measures that they had imposed,” Klug said at an online news conference.
He added: “This danger has become a reality in several cities in Europe – 30 countries have seen an increase in new cases that have accumulated over the past two weeks.
In 11 of these countries, the accelerated transmission of infection has led to a very strong new mutation of the disease.
If the situation is left as it is, health systems will be pushed to the edge of the abyss again.
Subsequently, WHO identified these 11 countries as follows: Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Kosovo, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kyrgyzstan.
Klug said that countries such as Poland, Germany, Spain and Israel have responded quickly to dangerous outbreaks linked to schools, coal mines and food production facilities, as the matter contained urgent interventions.
He said that, despite warnings of new mutations in the spread of the virus, the WHO expected that the situation would calm down more in most countries during the summer.
He added: “But we have to prepare for the fall, when Covid-19 coincides with the season of influenza, pneumonia and other diseases, because the virus is still circulating in societies and no effective treatment has been found, nor an effective vaccine for it”.
In another development, France and Germany pledged support to the health organization, after talks in Geneva with the organization’s director-general, Tiedros Adhanum Gebresus.
German Health Minister Jens Young said his country has planned to give more than 500 million euros (560 million US dollars) in funding and equipment for the organization this year.
He stressed that global epidemics need a coordinated global response, adding that: “Individual responses of countries to international problems will be condemned to failure”.
French Health Minister Olivier Ferrand pledged 50 million euros in direct funding to the organization, as well as 90 million euros for a research center in Lyon.
“I sincerely believe that the world needs, now more than ever, an organization that includes many parties,” Ferran said.
I think the world cannot get rid of the idea of the partners”.
European leaders were keen to show public support for the World Health Organization after the United States described the organization as a “hand in hand for China” and said it would cut funding and leave it.