Health

WHO’s Europe director says vaccine rollout ‘unacceptably slow’

Berlin, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization on Thursday said fresh restrictions being introduced in Europe were necessary to curb swelling Covid-19 figures but criticized the slow vaccine rollout on the continent.

“Only five weeks ago, the weekly number of new cases in Europe had dipped to under 1 million, but now the Region’s situation is more worrying than we have seen in several months,” Dorit Nitzan, region emergency director for the WHO’s Europe office, said in a statement.

“There are risks associated with the increased mobility and gatherings over the religious holidays. Many countries are introducing new measures that are necessary and everyone should follow as much as they can,” she added.

According to the WHO, the continent recorded 1.6 million new Covid19 cases last week and almost 24,000 deaths associated with the virus.

It added that a total of 27 countries were currently applying a partial or full lockdown, including 21 that have nighttime curfews. Some 50 countries in the region have confirmed the presence of the UK variant of the coronavirus, which is more virulent.

Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s Europe director, said: “Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic. Not only do they work, they are also highly effective in preventing infection. However, the roll-out of these vaccines is unacceptably slow.”

Only 10% of Europeans have received a single dose of the vaccine while 4% have received two, the statement said.

“The risk of ongoing vaccination providing a false sense of security to authorities and the public alike is considerable – and that carries a danger,” he added. EFE-EPA

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