Eastern Europe in midst of COVID surge as vaccinations lag

Eastern European countries with below-average COVID vaccination rates are facing an increase in infections, according to data from the European …

Eastern European countries with below-average COVID vaccination rates are facing an increase in infections, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

According to the latest data released on Thursday, the 14-day incidence of COVID-19 infection among 31 EU/EEA countries is 166.5 cases per 100,000 population.

Rates are well above average in Eastern European countries, including the Baltic states, which range from 859 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 972.2, and Romania, Slovenia and Bulgaria, where rates are 858, 555 and 403 cases, respectively. per 100,000 population.

All these countries have below-average vaccination rates. According to the ECDC, approximately 74.7% of adults in the EU/EEA are fully vaccinated.

In the Baltic countries, Lithuania has the highest vaccination rate at 70.2% of the population aged 18 years and over, while neighboring Latvia has the lowest at 52.2%.

Slovenia has also fully vaccinated more than half of its adult population, but in Romania and Bulgaria the rates fall to only 34.8% and 23.6%, respectively.

Bulgaria has the highest COVID-19 death rate per population, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country of 6.9 million inhabitants has suffered 22,044 deaths since the start of the pandemic, which translates to 315.4 deaths per 100,000 population.

Other European countries that are among the 10 worst-affected countries globally include Romania (209 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), the United Kingdom (207 deaths), Russia (149 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) and Ukraine (143 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants). taking.

Russia, eastern Ukraine and Hungary are currently battling record levels of infection.

Russia

According to the Coronavirus Task Force, the number of daily COVID-19 deaths in Russia set a new record with 986 deaths observed in the last 24 hours on Thursday.

Authorities also reported 31,299 new infections – a new record for the country.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Tuesday that about 43 million Russians, or only about 29% of the country’s population of about 146 million, are fully vaccinated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the vaccination rate should be accelerated, but also warned against forcing people to get vaccinated.

Despite the rising toll, the Kremlin has also rejected a new nationwide lockdown, as in the first months of the pandemic, which has badly crippled the economy and handed over the authority to impose coronavirus restrictions on regional authorities while lowering Putin’s rating.

Some Russian regions have already restricted participation in large public events and have limited access to theatres, restaurants and other venues. But to restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and other venues, Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities, life is largely normal.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Thursday that more than 1.1 million COVID-19 patients are now in hospitals, adding that this number puts a “high burden” on the country’s healthcare system.

Hungary

Authorities in Hungary recorded the highest daily case of new COVID-19 in five months on Thursday, amid an increase in coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations.

A total of 1,141 new infections were reported, the highest daily total since 14 May. The increase pushed the number of cases so far this week to a 37% increase from the same period last week. The highest number since early June, with 742 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in nearly 10 million countries.

Pandemic containment measures in Hungary have been largely repealed since the beginning of July, and masks are not mandatory anywhere in public.

On Monday, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences recommended wearing masks indoors, at events and on public transport “to prevent the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

As of Thursday, 66.6% of Hungarian adults were fully vaccinated, below the European Union average of 74.7%, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Ukraine

Russia-backed separatist officials in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday reported the largest increase in new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, saying the healthcare system was overwhelmed.

Separatist officials have asked for more help from Russia, and a convoy is expected to deliver Russian vaccines, respirators and other medical equipment on Thursday.

Health authorities in the 2.2 million Donetsk region reported 1,005 new confirmed infections and 97 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours. The county health department described the situation as “extremely tense” and said it was facing a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen.

The region, which has run its own business with Russian political, economic and military support since declaring its independence in April 2014, has seen 5,578 confirmed virus deaths so far. only 10% of p

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