Europe Returns to the Dark Times of Covid-19

Europe Returns to the Dark Times of Covid-19

People in several European countries are lulled by the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Almost all levels of society are starting to loosen up with the Covid-19 health protocol, and consider it as if the pandemic never happened.

Ummatimes - In Cologne, thousands of people revel in the streets in luxurious clothes. They crammed into dense crowds as they counted down to the annual carnival season on November 11 at around 11 a.m. local time.

Then in Paris on Wednesday (10/11) the bars and clubs were open late and packed. Locals enjoy celebrating Armistice Day as a national holiday. Meanwhile in Amsterdam, business operations are back to normal as usual. Visitors flock to the bustling cafes and coffee shops around Leidseplein.

The excitement will likely not last long, as the fourth wave of the coronavirus has swept across Europe. Multiple cities

The Netherlands has canceled a popular annual parade to mark the arrival of Sinterklaas ahead of Christmas celebrations. But the Christmas markets that are normally held in Germany have not been cancelled.

"You can't imagine standing in a market drinking wine while hospitals are full and fighting for the last resources," said Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer.

Europe is again the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus infections across Europe increased by 7 percent, and deaths rose by 10 percent over the past week. This makes Europe the only region in the world, which has recorded a steady rise in cases and deaths.

The WHO says nearly two-thirds or about 1.9 million new global cases of Covid-19 are in Europe. The number of new cases in Europe rose for the sixth week in a row. This indicates that the spread of the virus has increased in almost all of the European continent. Some countries are even experiencing a fourth or fifth wave.

Experts agree that the continuous increase in the number of Covid-19 cases is due to various factors including low absorption of the vaccine, and reduced immunity among people who receive vaccinations early. In addition, residents began to ignore health protocols. They don't wear masks and crowd, especially when the government relaxes restrictions during the summer.

The country, which eased most of its restrictions over the summer, recorded an average of 609 cases per one million inhabitants every day for seven consecutive days. This prompted the government to backtrack on their promise to lift all restrictions by the end of the year.

“The message is do it all. Vaccines prevent severe forms of the disease, and especially death. They (vaccines) are the most powerful asset when used in conjunction with preventive measures," said WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge.

Kluge said European authorities should speed up vaccination programs including booster shots for at-risk groups and vaccinations for teenagers. In addition to vaccination, health protocols must also be strictly maintained. Kluge added that the WHO estimates that 95% of the use of masks in Europe could save nearly 200,000 lives.

“Most of the people who are hospitalized and die of Covid-19 today are not completely because they have not been vaccinated. Preventive measures must be applied correctly and consistently. Preventive measures don't deprive people of their freedom," Kluge said.

According to figures from Our World in Data, the highest vaccination rate in continental Europe is held by the southern European region. More than 80 percent of the population in Portugal, Malta and Spain have received the full two-dose Covid-19 vaccination. In Italy, only 73 percent of the population has received a complete vaccination. However, this does not guarantee that the number of new Covid-19 cases will subside.