The number of new coronavirus cases increased across Europe for the first time in 10 weeks, the World Health Organization said Thursday, ending a stretch that had raised hopes the pandemic would recede as vaccinations were on the rise infections jumped 10 percent over the past week in the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region, the agency’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said in a briefing.

He attributed the rise to increased mixing, summer travel and the rapid spread of the more contagious delta variant first identified in India.

“This is taking place in the context of a rapidly evolving situation,” Kluge said. “And in a region where, despite tremendous efforts by member states, millions remain unvaccinated

Here are some significant developments:
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired a senior health official after a newspaper alleged that he participated in a graft scheme linked to coronavirus vaccines amid significant suffering for Brazil’s poor.
  • The end of the pandemic “remains a distant future” for much of Latin America as new coronavirus cases are again on the rise and most people remain unvaccinated, the region’s public health agency said Wednesday.
  • New Delhi may not recognize European Union vaccination certificates for travel, Indian media reported. The E.U.’s vaccine passport initiative does not include two major vaccines produced in India because they have not been approved by European regulators.
  • Thailand on Thursday launched its “sandbox” program allowing fully vaccinated travelers quarantine-free entry to Phuket island. Officials expect many of the initial travelers will be Israeli vacationers.
  • Indonesia will tighten distancing curbs as the delta variant wreaks havoc across the Southeast Asian country, where only about 5 percent of the population is fully inoculated. There could be a ban on dining in restaurants, while malls and many offices may be closed, Reuters reported.
  • Nearly 2,000 coronavirus infections in Scotland have been linked to the 2020 UEFA European men’s soccer championship, although it is difficult to pinpoint where people got infected, health authorities said. Scotland reported a record 3,887 cases on Wednesday, but there were comparatively few people with serious symptoms.

At least 63 percent people in the European region — which stretches from Portugal in the west to Russia’s eastern border — are still waiting for a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Kluge said. And by August, the delta variant is expected to become dominant across Europe, as restrictions are lifted across the continent.The variant, which is highly transmissible, “is already translating into increased hospitalizations and deaths,” Kluge said.

But in some places, such as Britain, high vaccination rates have helped keep virus deaths down, health officials say, even as new cases involving the delta variant surge. British authorities Wednesday recorded more than 26,000 new infections, the country’s highest daily caseload in six months. The last time cases were that high, daily deaths reached more than 1,200, Britain’s Sky News reported.

But just 14 new virus-related deaths were recorded Wednesday, according to Reuters, down from 23 the day before. About half of Britain’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, which tracks publicly available figures.

Katerina Ang in Singapore contributed to this report.