Brussels/Washington | Jagran World Desk: As the World Health Organisation expressed concern over consistent surge of COVID-19 infections and fatalities in Europe, the European countries continue to report record-high infection rates. Meanwhile, the anticipations in diplomatic and aviation circles are predicting a full or partial lockdown to control the surge in the coming weeks.

Here’s how Europe has once again become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Germany: The official figures on Monday reported over 30,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of close to 50 per cent in a week. Germany’s DW News reported that ICU capacities of many hospitals in East are close to exhaustion. Meanwhile, the country is likely to cross 1,00,000 COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of pandemic.

Austria: Austria imposed lockdown on Monday, becoming the first country in western Europe to do so for the first time since the vaccines were rolled out. The country has shut the non-essential shops, bars and cafes and has asked people to work from home.

Netherlands: The Netherlands also imposed lockdown measures last weekend for an initial three weeks. Meanwhile, the daily infections have remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. The authorities are also facing resistance to impose lockdown measures. On Sunday, for the third night in a row, the police clashed with mobs of angry youths who were reportedly protesting COVID-19 restrictions.

Belgium: The government last week introduced mandatory work from home and testing people in nightclubs if they want to dance mask-free. Following this, Police on Sunday clashed with protestors demanding the repeal of COVID related restrictions. Tear gas and water cannon at Covid protesters were fired in Brussels, whose visuals went viral on social media.

France: French PM Jean Castex on Monday became the latest high-profile case of COVID-19 in France. Meanwhile, the COVID fifth wave is “starting at lightning speed”, the government said on Sunday. The seven-day average of new cases increased by 81 per cent in France by Monday.

Russia: Russia, despite being the first country in the world to have rolled out COVID-19 vaccine (Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V), continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. The country reported 35,681 new confirmed cases, down from 41,000, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Why cases are rising in Europe?

According to WHO, the winter season, insufficient vaccine coverage and the regional dominance of the more transmissible Delta variant were behind the recent surge of COVID-19 infections across Europe. WHO also called for increased vaccine coverage across Europe and the implementation of basic public health measures to combat the current rate of COVID spread.

‘Do Not Travel’ to these countries, US says

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Monday advised against travel to Germany and Denmark because of COVID-19 cases. The list of countries with ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory also includes Austria, Britain, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Romania, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma