ECDC warns of rising cases, mortality in Europe

Berlin, Dec 10 (EFE).- The epidemiological situation in Europe is characterized by “high and rapidly increasing” coronavirus infection rates and a slowly rising mortality rate, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned in its weekly report Friday.

The ECDC also predicted that, over the course of this week, the number of reported cases, hospital admissions and deaths would increase in several countries.

The European Union as a whole reported the 14-day incidence increased last week to 797 per 100,000 people, up from 748.6 in the previous week, while the mortality rate for the same period rose slightly to 55.9 deaths per million, up from 53.2.

The ECDC classified eight countries as “very high risk” (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland), while calling 11 “high risk,” ten “moderate risk,” and one “low risk.”

By the end of week 48, some 71.1% of the European population had received one dose of the vaccine and 66.7% had received the full course, according to the report.

In Germany, where rates of around 69.5% are slightly higher than the continental average but lower than most western European countries, the lower house of the German Parliament (Bundestag) on Friday overwhelmingly approved mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers and nursing home staff.

They will have until March 2022 to receive both doses of the Covid-19 inoculation or prove that they have recovered from the disease.

The upper house, the Bundesrat, is expected to ratify the law later on Friday.

For the time being, the full vaccination schedule is understood to mean two doses, although it is possible that in the future it will also be necessary to have received a booster shot.

To speed up the campaign, the bill will also allow that jabs can be administered in pharmacies as well as by dentists and veterinarians who meet certain requirements.

The new German coalition government under Olaf Scholz is also working on a legal framework to introduce compulsory vaccination for the general population, which the government hopes to have ready for parliamentary review by February.

Both the conservative bloc of former Chancellor Angela Merkel and the parties of the Scholz coalition had argued that vaccination would always be voluntary in Germany.

But the spike in infections in recent months and the stagnation of the rollout have led to a change of opinion across the parliamentary spectrum — with the exception of the far right AfD — in favor of making it compulsory. EFE


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