COVID-19 cases registered in Eastern Europe reaches 20 million – Community News

COVID-19 cases registered in Eastern Europe reaches 20 million

Oct 24 (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus infections recorded so far in Eastern Europe surpassed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters count, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic and vaccination efforts are lagging.

Countries in the region have the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than half of the population receiving a single dose.

Hungary tops the region’s vaccination rate with 62% of the population having received at least one injection, while Ukraine has only given 19% of its residents a single dose, according to Our World in Data.

New infections in the region have risen steadily and now average more than 83,700 new cases a day, the highest level since November last year, data from Reuters as of Friday showed. Although it is only 4% of the world’s population, Eastern Europe is responsible for about 20% of all new cases reported worldwide.

According to a Reuters analysis, three of the top five countries reporting the most deaths in the world are in Eastern Europe: Russia, Ukraine and Romania.

More indoor social gatherings after restrictions are lifted, just as winter sets in, is fueling a surge in COVID-19 infections in many countries across Europe, Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergency director, said Thursday.

As the wave of infections mounts, many people in Eastern Europe are torn between resistance and regret for not getting vaccinated.

Hundreds have protested in Sofia and other cities against mandatory certificates that came into effect Thursday, restricting access to many indoor public spaces to those who have been vaccinated.

A European Commission poll, the Eurobarometer, has found that in most countries in the eastern European Union, at least one in three people do not trust the health care system, compared with a block average of 18%.

According to a Reuters analysis, more than 40% of all new cases reported in Eastern Europe were in Russia, with 120 people testing positive every five minutes. Health care in the country is under great pressure, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday. The nation reported a record number of COVID deaths on Friday for the fourth day in a row.

So far, Russia has vaccinated about 36% of the population with one vaccination.

Moscow, the country’s most populous city and capital, will close all businesses next week except essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies to curb the spread of the disease.

Slovakia reported 3,480 new cases of COVID-19 on Oct. 19, the highest daily number since March, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday. The country has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU, with just over half of the adult population fully vaccinated in the country of 5.5 million. This has contributed to a faster increase in infections than in some neighboring countries.

In Romania, hospitals have been stretched to breaking point, with emergency beds fully occupied across the country. Mortuaries were also running at full capacity. The country reported a record number of daily deaths and infections with the corona virus on Tuesday. In a country where vaccination coverage is low, the virus dies on average every five minutes this month.

Ukraine registered a record number of new coronavirus infections and related deaths for the second consecutive day on Friday. It also extended a state of emergency that allows authorities to put restrictions to contain infections until the end of the year.

Reporting by Roshan Abraham, Shaina Ahluwalia and Rittik Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.