Covid-19 Death Toll in Europe Surpassed One Million
Europe's Covid-19 death toll surpassed one million on Monday, as the WHO warned that infections are rising exponentially despite widespread efforts aimed at stopping them, news wires reported. The death toll across Europe's 52 countries, compiled by AFP from official sources, totalled at least 1,000,288 by 1830 GMT.
"We are in a critical point of the pandemic right now," Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on Covid-19, said. "This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, when we have proven control measures," she told reporters.
The coronavirus has already killed more than 2.9m people and infected nearly 136m across the world.
But despite the sombre news in Europe -- the world's worst-hit region -- Britain eased curbs for the first time in months on Monday, allowing Britons to enjoy a taste of freedom with a pint and a haircut.
Pubs and restaurants were allowed to serve people outside -- a move welcomed by the hard-hit hospitality sector, despite wintry temperatures. England's hairdressers, indoor gyms and swimming pools also got the green light to reopen.
Once the worst-affected country in Europe, Britain launched a successful vaccination campaign coupled with lockdown measures that cut deaths by 95% and cases by 90% from January.
Italy has also been one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, and on Monday, Rome saw the latest in a series of anti-lockdown demonstrations, with several hundred people turning out in protest against weeks of restaurant closures.
In France, now the European country with the most infections, an expansion of the vaccine rollout has buoyed optimism among lockdown-weary residents. Everyone aged over 55 years old is now eligible for a Covid vaccination.
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