Europe engulfed by new COVID-19 wave, says ECDC expert

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STOCKHOLM, July 20 (Xinhua) — Europe is engulfed by a new COVID-19 wave as the number of new infections has tripled in six weeks, the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday.

The wave is mainly driven by the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which account for 80 percent of the total infections in Europe right now, Agoritsa Baka, a senior ECDC expert, told Swedish Television.

In the past week, close to 3 million new COVID-19 cases were reported in the European region, accounting for nearly half of all new cases globally, the World Health Organization(WHO) said Tuesday in a press release.

Hospitalizations have reportedly doubled in Europe in recent weeks.

Referring to WHO statistics, Swedish Television reported that nearly 3,000 Europeans die of COVID-19 every week.

It said the situation in Sweden is stable, but in several other countries in Europe, the number of deaths has increased in recent weeks.

This has led the ECDC to the conclusion that pandemic measures may be needed again, “such as face mask requirements in public transport and restrictions on larger gatherings,” Baka said.

There are also concerns that a new subvariant, BA.2.75, may further increase the number of infections. After rapidly spreading in India, it has also been discovered in 15 other countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

It is however too early to say whether it is more dangerous than the current subvariants, Baka said.

“We do not have enough knowledge about it to be able to say anything now. But we are keeping a close eye on its transmission and waiting for more data from countries where it circulates,” she was quoted by Swedish Television as saying. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Liang Jun)

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