Covid cases rising again in Europe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 05, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 05, 2021

Covid cases rising again in Europe

Says WHO as 4 nations agree to fast-track vaccines for new variants

The number of new coronavirus cases has risen in Europe after six weeks of decline, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

"Last week, new cases of Covid-19 in Europe rose nine percent to just above one million. This brought a promising six-week decline in new cases to an end, with more than half of our region seeing increasing numbers of new infections," said WHO Europe's regional director Hans Kluge.

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"We are seeing a resurgence in central and Eastern Europe. New cases are also on the rise in several western European countries where rates were already high," he said. "We need to get back to the basics. We need to enlarge" the vaccine portfolio, he said.

WHO's Europe region comprises 53 nations and vaccination drives have begun in 45.

Meanwhile, Russian Sputnik V shots could soon be doled out across Europe after the EU said it was assessing the vaccine, as Britain and four other nations pushed ahead under a pact to fast-track jabs adapted to fight new strains.

The agreement will avert the need for lengthy clinical studies if authorised vaccines are adapted in future, as long as the manufacturers offer "robust evidence" of their potency and safety, according to the agreement by the ACCESS Consortium.

The consortium comprises Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and counterparts from Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland. 

The virus has killed at least 2,561,937 people since it emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources yesterday.

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