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COVID-19 STATS

European health authorities warn of surge in Delta variant infections

European health officials are calling on countries to step up free testing and contact tracing to fight the Delta variant of Covid-19.

European health authorities warn of surge in Delta variant infections
A person receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Barcelona. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

WHO Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint appeal on Friday for “reinforced efforts” by European countries to check the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, first detected in India.

“WHO recommends that countries increase access to free of charge testing, expand sequencing, incentivise quarantine for contacts and isolation for confirmed cases, strengthen contact tracing to break chains of transmission and ensure those most at risk among our populations are vaccinated,” the joint statement said.

It said data reported to WHO and the ECDC shows that between June 28th and July 22th the Delta variant was dominant in 19 countries of the 28 countries that reported sufficiently complete genetic sequencing information.

The number of cases surged this week by nine percent worldwide, up 26 percent in Europe and 60 percent in the United States, spurred on by the Delta variant, according to an AFP survey.

The ECDC, which tracks the 27 EU countries and three non-EU countries, said it raised from low to moderate its level of concern for the pandemic in Europe and expressed a high level of concern for four countries: Spain, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus.

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COVID-19 STATS

Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

Fewer new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Denmark, with last week’s total 19 percent reduced compared to the week before.

Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

The latest report from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the Danish infectious disease agency, states 10,777 new cases were detected in the week commencing July 25th, equivalent to 183 cases per 100,000 residents.

The number of PCR tests administered also decreased 15 percent compared to the preceding week, however.

Declining viral loads in the wastewater system also suggest there’s a lower burden of infection in the country, according to SSI.

In the same period, new Covid-positive hospital admissions fell nearly a quarter, with a significant decline in the elderly population. 

There was also a significantly lower prevalence of infections among care home residents and social care sector staff, SSI states.

Last month, age concern charity Ældre Sagen called for the Danish Health Authority to bring forward planned booster vaccinations to care home residents after a 29 percent increase in new hospital admissions with the virus, with 60-89 year-olds particularly affected.

Booster vaccinations will be offered to everyone aged 50 and over this autumn.

READ ALSO: Who is eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine dose in Denmark and when?

60 deaths among people who were infected with Covid-19 occurred last week, 10 more than the preceding week.

“But this is not a sign of excess deaths in the population in general,” SSI says in the report.

Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is still responsible for the lion’s share of Covid cases in Denmark, accounting for 92 percent of positive results in the week of July 18th. 

“There is no sign of concerning spread of other subvariants,” SSI writes.

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