BRUSSELS, Belgium — As the global accumulative COVID-19 cases surpassed 200 million, the latest update by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed on Thursday that the resurgence of the pandemic could be linked to the opening of borders and the relaxation of travel restrictions.
The travel card issued by ECDC on Thursday was not very encouraging. Europe is now redder than it was a week ago. The south of the continent, where many tourists meet, appears to be the area most affected by the pandemic.
In the south, three countries have seen new orange and red zones multiply in their territories: France, Greece and Italy. In the Italian peninsula, everything was orange except for the islands — Sicily and Sardinia, but now Tuscany and Marche have also turned red.
This week, the north also started to turn red, as in the cases of Estonia and Iceland.
In Finland, Helsinki is one of several areas that turn red. According to the Finnish National Broadcaster Yle, with the accelerated spread of the Delta variant, the three most populous regions including the capital Helsinki have been assessed to entering the accelerating spreading epidemic stage from Wednesday. This is the most serious stage according to the current epidemic classification criteria implemented in the Nordic country.
Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO Europe, said in late July that Europe was seeing a significant rise in cases associated with the spread of the Delta variant, a highly transmissible variant that has become the most dominant strain across the continent.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the ECDC on Wednesday issued a joint statement to stress that full COVID-19 vaccination is key to protecting against the Delta variant. They strongly encouraged those who are eligible for vaccination but have not yet been vaccinated to take the recommended vaccination “in a timely manner.”
The global COVID-19 caseload reached 200,053,793 with a total of 4,254,824 deaths worldwide as of 0030 GMT on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
With 35,323,182 cases and 614,793 deaths, the United States has suffered the most from the pandemic, accounting for nearly 18 percent of the global caseload. In India, a total of 31,769,132 cases have been recorded, second only to the United States. India’s death toll stands at 425,757. Brazil has registered 20,026,533 cases with the world’s second largest number of deaths of 559,607.
Countries with more than 5 million cases also include Russia, France, Britain and Turkey, according to the CSSE.