WHO warns Europe COVID-19 spread is now worse than what it was near the start of the pandemic

A World Health Organization (WHO) official warned that the spread of the novel coronavirus in Europe now is worse than it was in March, near the start of the pandemic.

Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said the spread of the virus should “serve as a wake-up call.”

“In the spring and early summer we were able to see the impact of strict lockdown measures. Our efforts, our sacrifices, paid off. In June cases hit an all-time low,” Kluge said at an online press conference Thursday. “The September case numbers, however, should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.”

Europe has reported 300,000 cases in one week, the highest 7-day total since the start of the pandemic. In total, Europe has reported about 4.9 million coronavirus cases and 226,524 deaths.

“We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” Kluge said. “Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March.”

Kluge emphasized that though the rising numbers partially reflect more testing, governments should not reduce their quarantine periods for people who have come into contact with infected individuals.

“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, they also show alarming rates of transmission across the region,” Kluge said. “The 14-day quarantine period is a conservative estimate of the infectious period.”

With inputs from The Hill

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