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
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.
Katerina Ang in Singapore contributed to this report.