By Ani Paitjan
In a statement to the press on April 8, Dr. Hans P. Kluge, World Health Organization (WHO) Director for Europe, said that Europe remains at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dr. Kluge, overall new cases continue to increase in Europe.
“The total number of laboratory confirmed cases was 687,236, including 52,824 people who have sadly passed away as of April 8,” he said.
These data are from 53 countries and seven territories, including Armenia.
The concerning fact for the WHO director is that, worldwide, seven of the top ten countries most affected are located in the European continent, including Spain, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Switzerland.
According to WHO, Armenia is ranked 32 out of 53 in terms of total number of infected cases, while Spain and Italy are in the first and second place with 140,510 and 135,586 cases respectively.
In terms of restrictions imposed by European governments to limit the spread of the virus, Dr. Kluge notes two main trends.
- Following the combination of public health and clinical interventions put in place, some of the countries with community transmission are starting to show signs of a decline in the rate of increase of new cases.
- Other countries are experiencing a rapid increase in cases or fresh surges.
Dr. Kluge stated that they were alarmed for Armenia’s neighbour, Turkey. The country has seen a dramatic increase in virus spread over the last week with 60 percent of cases coming from Istanbul.
Profile of people infected by COVID-19
“We now know that the virus behaves in the same way in Europe and in China – so we are also learning more about how it can be controlled”, noted Dr. P. Kluge.
Infection occurs across all ages, although proportionally less in children under the age of 15. But the burden of severe disease is greater in older people, particularly men, and those with underlying chronic conditions.
“Among those who have sadly lost their lives, two thirds are male, and 95% are over the age of 60. Most of these individuals had one or a combination of underlying conditions: cardiovascular disease (66%), diabetes (29%) and renal disease (21%), ” said Dr. P. Kluge
In Armenia, 10 people have died from COVID-19 as of April 9, most of them over 60 years old with pre-existing conditions.