COVID-19 pandemic measures tightened in Europe

Restrictions have been strengthened and lockdowns extended in several European countries in response to surges in coronavirus cases and, in the case of Denmark, the local emergence of the VOC-202012/01 variant first identified in the UK which is expected to become dominant by mid-February. The Jan 5 WHO epi update observed that the VOC-202012/01 variant ‘has been detected in a small number of cases in 40 other countries/territories/areas in five of the six WHO regions, and the 501Y.V2 variant initially detected in South African in six other countries/territories/areas’. More in a Dec 31 WHO Disease outbreak news post and in an ECDC ‘Risk Assessment: Risk related to spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in the EU/EEA’ published two days earlier. 

The WHO director-general announced in a briefing this week that ‘more than 30 countries have started vaccinating their high-risk populations with various COVID-19 vaccines’.

In other news:

-Authorities in some regions have sounded the alarm over advertisements for the sale of falsified COVID-19 vaccines on the dark web, as criminals pursue personal data and money; more activity is expected with demand high as vaccines are rolled out. The WHO advised that ‘so far there was no need to be concerned and appropriate regulatory action had been taken’ but to ensure vaccine doses are procured through regulated and controlled supply chains. Read more

-The Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine, branded as Comirnaty, has now been approved by regulators in the EU, Switzerland and in some countries in the Americas, and by the WHO under its non-proprietary name of tozinameran. Emergency Use Listing approval by the WHO ‘enables UNICEF and the PAHO to procure the vaccine for distribution to countries in need’ as well as facilitating countries’ regulatory processes for vaccine importation and administration.

-ABC news writes of Australian trials of 'backup' COVID-19 vaccines ‘that can be modified to fight virus mutations’  Read more.

Affected Regions


Affected Countries