The World Health Organization has stated that a further 700,000 people could die of Covid-19 by March 2022 in Europe and parts of Asia, saying it expected “high or extreme stress” in intensive care units in 49 countries of its Europe region.
As at press time there are already 1.5 million deaths in the 53 countries of what the WHO terms as its Europe region.
As well as European nations, the WHO still considers Israel and ex-Soviet states like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as part of Europe.
Europe is facing a surge in cases, prompting Austria to return to lockdown and others to consider fresh measures.
A number of countries – including France, Germany and Greece – could also soon make booster jabs a requirement for their citizens to be considered fully vaccinated.
The WHO also warned Covid was the top cause of death in its Europe region.
“Cumulative reported deaths are projected to reach over 2.2 million by spring next year, based on current trends,” the WHO said on Tuesday, November 23.
Confirmed Covid-related deaths recently doubled to almost 4,200 a day, it added.
A high number of unvaccinated people and the prevalence of the Delta variant in some countries were key factors behind high transmission rates in the Europe region, the WHO said.
The WHO Europe director, Dr Hans Kluge, said;
“All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life, and limit further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season,” he said.