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Warning as virus surges across Europe

Friday March 5th 2021

Europe is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 infection driven by new variants, the World Health Organisation has warned.

Cases of infection increased by 9% last week, ending a “promising” six week decline in cases, WHO said.

It warned of “resurgence” in central and eastern Europe – and that several western countries are also facing rising rates.

The warning came after the UK REACT study also warned that declining infection rates had flatlined in many regions.

However, the sharp decline in rates appeared to be sustained, according to daily reporting in the UK. Yesterday 6,573 new cases of infection were reported together with 242 new deaths. France reported more than 25,000 new cases and Italy more than 22,000.

WHO regional director Dr Hans Kluge said the Kent strain of the variant was now in 43 European countries while the South African strain is in 26.

Speaking in advance of International Women’s Day on Monday, he said: “The face of that frontline health worker we so often talk about, is mostly the face of a woman. More than 7 out of 10 global health and health facility service workers are women. In this region, 84% of nurses and 53% of physicians, are women.

“Health workers account for 8% of global COVID-19 cases, and the risk they run of getting infected is more than triple the risk of most of us, the ones they are trying to protect. Five weeks ago, out of the 1.3 million health workers that had been infected with COVID-19, 68% were women.

“We must do everything in our means to protect our frontline. It is fundamental, an obligation of every government, to assure vaccination of the health and social workforce.”

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses

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