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Covid-19 deaths in Europe likely to exceed 2 million by March 2022: WHO

Covid-19 deaths in Europe likely to exceed 2 million by March 2022: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the Covid-19 deaths in Europe are likely to go over two million by March 2022. Pandemic has become the number one cause of death in the continent.

Europe has already caused 1.5 million Covid-19 deaths. The international health body has described the situation as "very serious" and is expecting the death toll to reach 2.2 million by 1 March.

Currently, Covid-19 deaths in Europe have risen to nearly 4,200 in a day. It is double the number that was being reported in September 2021. The WHO is expecting a "high or extreme stress" on hospital beds in 25 of the 53 European countries. ICUs in 49 nations are also likely to see similar stress, reported The Guardian.

Several European countries have made vaccination obligatory. Yet, the region has become the centre of the pandemic once again. The highly transmissible variant Delta is driving the new wave and has become dominant in the region. Austria announced a lockdown this week due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

The WHO observed that more people gathering indoors due to the colder weather of late autumn is making many vulnerable to infection. Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO's regional director for Europe, said that it is essential that countries adopt a "vaccine plus" policy, reported The Guardian.

A vaccine plus approach will involve getting the standard doses of vaccine and taking a booster if offered. It will also involve adding preventive measures like wearing a mask, washing your hands, ventilating indoor spaces, keeping physical distance, and sneezing into your elbow, into normal routines.

Klug said that everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life and limit the further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season. Only 48% of Europeans are currently wearing a mask outdoors. A 95% mask usage can prevent over 160,000 deaths before 1 March 2022.

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