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Europe has seen an increase in weekly cases of COVID-19 for the first time in months as restrictions are eased, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
In at least 11 places, which include Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, and North Macedonia, accelerated transmission has led to "very significant resurgence," WHO Regional Director Dr. Hans Henri Kluge said Thursday.
Kluge said a virtual news conference that his warnings about the risk of resurgence had become a reality, and if the governments do not take immediate action, the health systems could be "pushed to the limit."
"For weeks, I have spoken about the risk of a resurgence as countries adjust measures," he said.
"In several countries across Europe, this risk has now become a reality. Thirty countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks," he warned.
"In 11 of these countries, an accelerated transmission has led to a very significant resurgence that, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink once again," he added.
The WHO Regional Director later identified the 11 countries and territories as Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Kosovo.
Meanwhile, despite warning about resurgences, he said the WHO anticipated that the situation would calm down further in the majority of countries over the summer.
More than 2.6 million cases of COVID-19 and 195,000 deaths have been reported in the WHO's European region, which is expansive, covering 54 countries and seven territories across Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Almost 20,000 new cases and more than 700 further deaths are being recorded daily.