Dutch premier Mark Rutte announced at least three weeks of lockdown measures targeting restaurants, shops and sporting events to curb a record spike in coronavirus infections.
The “annoying and far-reaching” measures came as the EU’s diseases agency said 10 countries in the 27-member bloc faced a Covid situation of “very high concern”, warning the pandemic was worsening across the continent. In its weekly risk assessment, the European Centre for Disease Control listed Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia in its highest category of concern.
According to a report in the Guardian by professor of molecular medicine Eric Topol suggests that among the reasons causing a resurgence of the virus in the continent, apart from the hyper-contagious Delta strain, might the waning immunity of some vaccines. Despite the fact that much of Europe began vaccination later, a recent study found that with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, the decline in anti-spike antibody occurred quite early, and there was a clear relationship between antibody levels and breakthrough infections. AstraZeneca’s vaccine reached the anti-spike antibody threshold of 500 U/ml after 96 days, while Pfizer’s took 257 days. The impact of waning, as well as the opportunity to restore very high (95 percent) efficacy of mRNA vaccines (specifically Pfizer/BioNtech) with booster (third) shots, has been unequivocally demonstrated by Israeli data, the report mentions.
The report also states how ‘America might be next’; as the United States has usually witnessed a Covid spike after its European neighbours.
Since it emerged in China in December 2019, the coronavirus has killed over five million people and caused economic devastation around the world. Europe is facing a sharp deterioration in the epidemic situation, especially in Germany and central and eastern Europe. Non-vaccinated people are the most affected.
Announcing his country’s partial lockdown, Rutte told the nation the crisis required a “hard blow of a few weeks because the virus is everywhere, throughout the country, in all sectors and all ages”. Cases have soared since the Dutch government lifted most Covid measures less than two months ago on September 25, reaching a record level of more than 16,000 on Thursday and Friday.
“Fortunately, the vast majority have been vaccinated, otherwise the misery in the hospitals would be incalculable at the moment,” Rutte said.
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