While some countries around the world are slowly starting to reopen their borders and resume trade and tourism as the Delta variant-induced surge in coronavirus cases is brought under control, several others are combating fresh outbreaks.
According to the World Health Organisation, the recent surge in cases has once again pushed Europe back into the epicentre of the pandemic. Central Asia, too, is witnessing an alarming rise in cases due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the WHO warned last week.
“We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence. Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic, where we were one year ago,” WHO’s Europe head Hans Kluge said. More than half of all new infections reported worldwide were from countries in Europe, with a million new infections about every four days, according to a Reuters analysis.
Here are some of the countries witnessing a surge in Covid cases
Hospitals across Russia have been overrun by Covid patients, with the country witnessing a record number of daily cases. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told a government meeting Wednesday that 82.8 per cent of 301,500 hospital beds reserved for Covid patients were filled as of Tuesday, AP reported.
Russia’s recent surge in fresh cases and deaths is largely being attributed to low vaccination rates and the government’s reluctance to impose strict restrictions. Less than 40 per cent of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Workers had been told to remain at home between October 30 and November 7 as part of the Kremlin’s strategy to reign in the latest outbreak. Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised regional governments to extend the number of non-working days if necessary, but only five Russian regions have done so.
On Wednesday, Germany recorded almost 40,000 cases — its highest single day rise in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Health experts are warning that the possible fourth wave that the country appears to be battling may just be the worst yet, BBC reported.
Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn described the crisis as a massive “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Since early November, the country has been ramping up its inoculation drive, vaccinating a record number of beneficiaries in a bid to curtail the recent surge in cases.
Last week, Spahn announced that everyone in the country will be eligible for a booster jab if six months have passed since their second dose, CNN reported.
Czech Republic and Slovakia
In recent weeks, coronavirus cases have been soaring in the Czech Republic as well as neighbouring Slovakia. In both countries, the healthcare system has been placed under tremendous strain as a steady stream of Covid patients continue to be admitted, Reuters reported.
Slovakia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the European Union. Only about 2.4 million people out of a population of nearly 5.5 million have been fully vaccinated.
Amidst a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, Denmark has announced that it will be reintroducing its health pass system. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen acknowledged that the re-introduction of the pass would make life more difficult for those who were not vaccinated, but added: “That’s how I think it should be,” Reuters reported.
Last week, authorities warned that the country’s hospitals may not be able to accommodate the rising number of cases of Covid, flu and other infectious diseases.
France is in the midst of a fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s health minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday. School children in many parts of France were once again ordered to wear face masks less than a month after being allowed to remove them.
While France has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, the pace of new vaccinations has slowed since the summer, AFP reported.
South Korea has been witnessing a sharp rise in Covid cases amongst children, weeks ahead of its plans to reopen schools across the country. To combat the surge, the country has launched an aggressive testing strategy at schools.
Widespread vaccine skepticism has led to a deadly surge in Covid cases across Ukraine. New daily cases hit a pandemic record of 26,870 earlier this month and were at more than 23,000 as of last week, AFP reported.
So far, less than 20 per cent of the country’s 7.6 million strong population has been fully vaccinated against the deadly infection. In fact, some Ukrainians have even been paying for fake Covid vaccination certificates.
Vaccination bookings have increased by 185 per cent in Greece amidst a debilitating fourth wave of coronavirus cases, according to senior health ministry official Marios Themistocleous.
To deal with the recent surge, the Greek government has introduced strict new rules as per which, unvaccinated people can only enter banks, government departments and most shops if they show a recent negative Covid test.
On Monday, the country reported a new record high for daily Covid infections, according to ABC News.