LONDON — The World Health Organization says coronavirus deaths in Europe rose 5 percent in the last week, making it the only region in the world where COVID-19 deaths increased.
The UN health agency says confirmed cases jumped 6% globally, driven by increases in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
In its weekly report on the pandemic, WHO says COVID-19 deaths in all regions other than Europe remained stable or declined, and totaled 50,000 worldwide last week. Of the 3.3 million new infections reported, 2.1 million came from Europe.
It’s the seventh consecutive week that COVID-19 cases have continued to mount across the 61 countries that WHO counts in its European region, which stretches through Russia to Central Asia.
While about 60% of people in Western Europe are fully immunized against COVID-19, only about half as many are vaccinated in the eastern part of the continent, where officials are struggling to overcome widespread vaccine hesitancy.
WHO says infections have been falling in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia since July.
Within Europe, WHO said the highest numbers of new cases were in Russia, Germany and Britain. It notes that deaths jumped by 67% in Norway and by 38% in Slovakia.
The health agency previously described Europe as the epicenter of the ongoing pandemic and warned that there could be 500,000 more deaths by February if urgent actions aren’t taken on the continent.