WHO has COVID warning for Europe before summer

"With increasing social gatherings, greater population mobility, and large festivals and sports tournaments taking place in the coming days and weeks, WHO Europe calls for caution," the WHO's European head Hans Kluge told a press briefing.

Over the last two months, new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations have declined, prompting 36 out of 53 countries in the region to start easing restrictions.

The number of reported COVID-19 infections last week came in at 368,000, a fifth of weekly cases reported during a peak in April this year, Kluge said.

"We should all recognize the progress made across most countries in the region, we must also acknowledge that we are by no means out of danger," he added.

Video Transcript

HANS KLUGE: We should all recognize the progress made across most countries in the region. We must also acknowledge that we are by no means out of danger. With increasing social gatherings, greater population mobility, and large festivals and sports tournaments taking place in the coming days and weeks, WHO Europe calls for caution.

In six months, more than 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region. This summer, vaccination needs to happen at a much faster pace. As of today, 30% of people in the region have received at least one vaccine dose. And 17% have completed their series.

Although, we have come far, we have not gone far enough. Vaccination coverage is far from sufficient to protect the region from a resurgence. The distance to go before reaching at least 80% coverage of the adult population is still considerable.