Europe has now recorded more than 2.5 million coronavirus cases following a “significant resurgence” after many lockdowns were lifted, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
“Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months,” the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said of alarming data following many nations lifting lockdowns.
“Thirty countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks,” he said, without detailing specific examples.
“In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe,” he warned.
While the continent had earlier appeared to be over the worst of the pandemic, there are still “close to 20,000 new cases and over 700 new deaths daily,” Kluge said.
“For weeks I have spoken about the risk of resurgence as countries adjust measures,” he said of the easing of earlier lockdowns and strict social distancing measures.
Praising new technology for helping tracing efforts, Kluge warned that it had also “exposed us to a tsunami of information” and “raised many issues around data protection and privacy.”
“Fundamental human and gender rights must be preserved in digital environments and must not be forgone in times of a pandemic,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of governments to address data ownership, use, consent and protection.
Almost 9.5 million confirmed cases had been reported worldwide as of Thursday morning, with at least 483,311 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.