2021-09-30 21:56:00 European Union nations risk a new virus surge if they ease restrictions now, health officials warn.

European Union nations risk a new virus surge if they ease restrictions now, health officials warn.

According to a new report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, there is a high risk of an increase in new coronavirus cases and deaths in European countries with insufficient vaccination coverage if Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed in the coming weeks.

According to the agency’s data, just over 62 percent of the European Union’s total population is fully vaccinated, and only three of its 27 member countries have fully vaccinated more than 75 percent of their residents.

When Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, that level of vaccine coverage will not be enough to keep the virus from spreading, the agency warned, especially since the highly contagious Delta variant is causing almost all new reported coronavirus cases on the continent.

“Countries should strive to increase vaccination coverage in all eligible age groups, regardless of current vaccination coverage levels,” said Andrea Ammon, director of the agency.

Ms. Ammon said that because she expects a surge in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths if precautions are relaxed soon, it may be necessary to keep Covid-19 restrictions in place until the end of November.

The report comes at a time when most children in the European Union have returned to school in person, and no coronavirus vaccine has yet been approved for use in children under the age of 12. As a result, it is especially important for the education system to implement preventive measures, according to the report. The European Medicines Agency, the EU’s drug regulator, said last week that it would decide whether to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in children under the age of 12 by early November.

The European Union as a whole is far along in its vaccination efforts, with more than 73 percent of the bloc’s adults fully vaccinated. However, there are significant differences between countries.

Eastern nations such as Romania and Bulgaria lag far behind wealthier western countries, putting a large portion of the bloc’s population at risk. According to the report, it is critical for those countries to increase vaccination rates by understanding why residents are not getting vaccinated and by implementing policies tailored to reach groups with particularly low vaccination uptake.

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European Union nations risk a new virus surge if they ease restrictions now, health officials warn.