More than 1 million people have died from COVID-19 in Europe, the World Health Organization announced on Thursday.
WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge warned that the situation remains "serious," with about 1.6 million new cases reported each week in the region.
Speaking on vaccine fears, Kluge said the risk of people suffering blood clots is far higher for people with COVID-19 than people who receive AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine.
AstraZeneca effective and preventing deaths
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Greece, Kluge did point to “early signs that transmission may be slowing across several countries'' and cited "declining incidence"' among the oldest people.
"For now, the risk of suffering blood clots is much higher for someone with COVID-19 than for someone who has taken the AstraZeneca vaccine," he said.
"Let there be no doubt about it, the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective in reducing COVID-19 hospitalization and preventing deaths." He said the WHO recommends its use for all eligible adults.
Worldwide death toll
The Johns Hopkins University found that overall nearly 3 million deaths have been linked to COVID-19 worldwide — with the Americas hardest hit. The United States, Brazil and Mexico have reported the highest number of deaths, collectively at more than 1.1 million.
One of the first countries on the path to normality is the UK, easing restrictions for the first time in months on Monday.
mna/aw (AP, Reuters)