Covid-19 cases in Eastern Europe surpass 10 million: Reuters tally

Photo: EPA Vaccination goes on in Croatian capital Zagreb.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Eastern Europe surpassed 10 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries across the region aim to increase vaccine procurements from multiple suppliers to accelerate inoculation programmes.

Countries in Eastern Europe have reported more than 10.02m cases and 214,691 deaths since the pandemic started. However, daily average new cases in the region have declined by about 31% in past 30 days as compared with the previous 30 days, according to the Reuters analysis.

Russia has the most cases in the region and became the first European country to surpass 4m on Monday. The country has also reported the most deaths in Eastern Europe at about 79,194.

Seven nations including Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria have administered about 4.5m Covid-19 vaccine doses, according to the data from their respective health ministries.

Russia has administered at least a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 0.3% of the country’s population, according to a Reuters analysis.

In a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 people in Europe alone, the delay in shipments announced by vaccine makers AstraZeneca PLC and Pfizer Inc has put in jeopardy the European Union’s summer target of vaccinating 70% of adults. To cope with the shortage in vaccine supplies, many countries in Eastern Europe have started looking for other vaccine providers from countries like China and Russia.

Hungary will start vaccinating people suffering no chronic diseases with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine soon, becoming the first EU member country to use it, while Czech PM Andrej Babis said on Wednesday that the country would wait for European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approval of the Russian vaccine.

Ukraine, which has registered more than 1.2m coronavirus cases and 24,058 deaths, has already agreed to buy some vaccines from China and expects to get at least 8m doses under the global COVAX programme for poorer countries. The country has also secured 12m Covid vaccines from the Serum Institute of India developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax.

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