WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said at a press conference that "the number of deaths in the region has increased by 11% last week, with a credible projection predicting 236,000 deaths in Europe by December".

The increase in the incidence of new cases is also related to a greater presence of the more contagious Delta variant along with the relief of measures to restrict the movement of citizens and the increase in travel, considers the WHO.

"We must be firm and maintain the various lines of protection, including vaccination and masks. Vaccines are the way to reopen societies and stabilise economies," defended Hans Kluge.

The WHO regional official noted that of the 53 countries in the European region, 33 had a 10% increase in the incidence of infection cases in the last 14 days and in several there was an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

Almost half of the population in the WHO European region has been fully vaccinated but in the last six weeks there has been a slowdown in the process, either due to lack of access to vaccines or due to resistance from citizens, he said.

"It is clearly necessary to increase vaccination, share doses and improve access to vaccines in the states for the population to be able to have complete vaccinations," he argued.

WHO reiterated its appeal to European governments to open schools and enforce face-to-face teaching in the 2021-2022 school year.

For the WHO, teachers and non-teaching staff must be vaccinated, as well as students over 12 years old who have some disease or condition that places them in an especially vulnerable group if they contract Covid-19.