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The Covid-19 death toll in Europe is expected to top 2.2 million by March next year and the virus is now the leading cause of death across the continent, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday, urging people to vaccinate and wear masks and social distancing. urged to follow the precautions. easing as countries resume lockdowns and reimpose tough new restrictions to contain the virus.

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Coronavirus deaths in Europe could rise to 700,000 by spring, WHO’s office for the region-which Covers 53 countries over a wide geographical area, including Israel and parts of Central Asia—written in one Statement,

About 1.5 million people have already died of Covid-19 in the region, the WHO said, and the number of deaths each day has risen to about 4,200, more than double the figure recorded at the end of September.

The WHO estimated “high or extreme stress” in ICUs in 49 of the 53 countries in the region between now and March, while hospital beds in 25 countries are expected to face similar pressure.

The WHO said the large numbers of unvaccinated people, relaxed pandemic restrictions and the highly contagious delta variant are major factors.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s director for the region, said the situation was “very serious” and warned of a “challenging winter ahead”, although added that “we must not be without hope.”

Kluge urged a “vaccine plus” approach, which means receiving a thorough vaccination and taking a booster shot if offered, in addition to precautions such as wearing a mask, washing hands and physical distancing.

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