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“Winter of uncertainty” in Europe as documented fairy tales prompted Booster expansion


'Winter of uncertainty' in Europe as recorded fairy cases prompted expansion boost

Slovakia, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Hungary all report new highs in Covid cases daily (File)

Brussels / Prague:

Coronavirus infections broke records in parts of Europe on Wednesday, with the continent once again the epicenter of the pandemic prompting new restrictions on movement and professionals Health professionals have promoted the expansion of the use of booster shots.

Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary all report new highs in daily infections as winter hits Europe and people gather indoors before Christmas, providing a perfect breeding ground for COVID-19.

New cases jumped 23% in the Americas last week, mostly in North America, in a sign that the region could also face a resurgence of the infection.

The disease has raged around the world in the two years since it was first identified in central China, infecting more than 258 million people and killing 5.4 million.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the public health agency of the European Union, recommends booster vaccination for all adults, with priority given to those over 40 years of age. in a major change from previous guidelines that suggested additional doses should be considered for older adults. sick people and people with weakened immune systems.

“The available evidence from Israel and the UK shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe illness following short-term booster doses in all age groups,” the ECDC said today. Wednesday.

Many EU countries have already started booster shots but are using different criteria for prioritization and different time intervals between the first injections and the booster dose.

ECDC head Andrea Ammon said the booster would increase protection against infections due to weakened immunity and “potentially reduce transmission in the population and prevent further hospitalizations”. and death”.

She recommended that countries with low levels of vaccination speed up the rollout, and warned there was a high risk that the number of deaths and hospitalizations in Europe would skyrocket in December and January if the recommended measures were taken. is not applicable.

The head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, acknowledging that Europe is again at the epicenter of the pandemic, has warned of a “false sense of security” over vaccine protection.

“No country is outside the jungle, and he hopes to be able to reach consensus at next week’s World Trade Organization ministerial meeting on exemptions from the right to human rights,” he told reporters. ownership for the pandemic vaccine.

Government and health officials say Sweden will begin gradually rolling out boosters to all adults. People 65 years of age and older have received the enhanced mRNA vaccine, which is intended to eventually expand vaccination to other groups.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a news conference: “We are facing an uncertain winter. “You can contribute by staying home if you’re sick or by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already, and taking a booster when you’re given one.”

Slovakia reported its highest daily increase in cases on Wednesday as the government passed a two-week lockdown to limit the world’s fastest rise in infections.

Restaurants and non-essential shops will close and movement will be restricted to essential shopping trips, to work, school or medical visits.

“The situation is dire,” said Prime Minister Eduard Heger, “We are here because the (existing) measures are not being followed.”

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Neighboring Austria closed this week for at least 10 days, becoming the first to re-impose such restrictions. It will also require all citizens to be vaccinated from February 1, angering many in a country where skepticism over state restrictions on individual liberties is growing. higher.

The Czech Republic has reported its highest daily increase in infections, with the number of cases surpassing 25,000 for the first time. The government is looking to make vaccines mandatory for people over 60 and certain occupations, like healthcare workers.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Wednesday said the cabinet would further debate the measures on Friday.

The Netherlands has recorded more than 23,700 cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic, and the government will announce new measures on Friday.

Hungary reported a record 12,637 new COVID-19 cases daily.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which opposes further shutdowns for fear of stifling the economy, launched a vaccination campaign this week, offering shots without pre-registration.

Authorities in Russia, where daily coronavirus-related deaths are near a record high, say they are scouring social media and media websites for people spreading disinformation about the incident. dangers of vaccination.

France will announce new COVID measures on Thursday, while Italy is tightening restrictions on the unvaccinated, preventing them from going to cinemas, restaurants and sporting events during the holidays. New restrictions apply from December 6.

Portugal, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, will give a booster vaccination to a quarter of its population by the end of January. Cases there hit a four-month daily high on Wednesday.

However, the death toll is still far below January levels and the infection rate is much lower than in most Western European countries.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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