Romania: Bodies fill morgue as coronavirus numbers spike
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Bodies are piling up with a hospital morgue in Romania receiving 41 deceased people within 24 hours – more than twice its capacity. European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said hospitalisation and death rates show the continent is primarily dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
Reported deaths due to COVID-19 hit almost 4,200 per day last week in Europe, double those recorded at the end of September, according to the WHO.
Deaths from the virus have passed the 1.5 million mark with COVID-19 identified as the number one cause of death across Europe by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The WHO expects 25 Europe region countries to experience high or extreme pressure on hospital beds with cumulative deaths projected to reach 2.2 million by spring next year.
Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, urged a “vaccine plus” approach with people getting the standard doses, taking a booster if offered and incorporating preventive measures.
Reporters visited the morgue at Bucharest University Hospital where they filmed bodies in corridors.
Romania has one of the lowest vaccine uptakes in the EU with 35.5 percent jabbed compared to the lowest, Bulgaria on 24.4 percent and the Republic of Ireland with 76.2 percent, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Medics in Romania told CNN they are struggling against fake news, suspicion and superstition.
Dr Alexandra Munteanu said: “There are a lot of doctors, myself included, that work with Covid patients, and we are trying to tell people that this disease actually exists.”
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The WHO puts the continent’s fourth wave down to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, colder weather, the easing of restrictions and the large number of people unvaccinated.
Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, issued a stark warning on the importance of getting vaccinated, telling a press conference in Berlin on Monday: “By the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead.”
There were 45,326 new cases of COVID-19 in Germany today, rising from 30,643 yesterday.
Austria has gone into a fourth full national lockdown amid unrest across Europe. From one minute past midnight Austrians were asked to work from home while non-essential shops were closed.
Restaurants, bars, hairdressers and theatres have shut their doors until at least December 12, with the measure to be assessed after 10 days.
The country is the first to announce compulsory vaccination with a law due to come into effect in February.
Austrian health minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said: “A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers [of infections] here.”
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The country recorded 11,921 new cases today compared to 13,795 yesterday.
Meanwhile the Netherlands saw its highest one day increase in new infections last week (23,591). There were just over 23,000 new cases today.
New lockdown rules in the country were met with resistance with police equipped with water cannons clashing with protestors in The Hague last Friday.
There was also violence in Rotterdam and in Brussels, Belgium, in response to restrictions tightening.
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