International health agencies are wary, as only 17% of Europeans are fully vaccinated while the Delta variant is spreading.
The World Health Organization has called on Europeans to travel responsibly on holiday, warning that the continent is “not out of danger” in the fight against COVID-19.
“As social gatherings, greater population mobility and major festivals and sports tournaments are taking place in the coming days and weeks, WHO Europe demands caution,” WHO European Head Hans Kluge said at a press conference on Thursday.
“If you choose to travel, do it responsibly. Be aware of the risks. Apply common sense and not jeopardize profits. “
The call has come despite a steady drop in recent infection rates.
In the last two months, there have been fewer COVID-19 cases, fewer deaths and new hospitalizations, and 36 reductions in 53 countries in the region have begun to ease.
KLUE said the number of COVID-19 infections last week was 368,000, the fifth highest number of cases per week in April this year.
“We should all acknowledge the progress made in most countries in the region. We must also accept that we are in no way out of danger,” he added.
Kluge said the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is worrisome.
This variant, “shows an increase in contagion and is ready for the immune escape to take effect in the region, while many of the vulnerable populations over 60 remain unprotected.”
Countries should learn from the recovery of cases seen last summer in Europe, even though vaccines are spreading across the region, Kluge said.
“Let’s not make that mistake again,” he said, adding that only 30 percent of the region had received the first dose of vaccine, which would not be enough to prevent another wave.
Seventeen percent received two doses.
Flock immunity is usually achieved with the vaccine and most scientists need at least 70% of the population to have antibodies to prevent the outbreak.
Some experts have suggested that although half of the population has immunity, there may be a protective effect.
“At least 80 percent of the population has a long distance to go before they can get adult coverage,” Klug said.