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A healthcare worker administering a coronavirus test on a person in Slany, Czech Republic, on March 5. Photo: Milan Jaros/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said this week that variants of the coronavirus are provoking another uptick in infections across Europe.

Why it matters: European countries reported around 1 million new cases last week, around a 9% increase from the week prior. Last week's surge ended a six-week decline in new infections, the WHO said Thursday, according to AP.

By the numbers: The variant first found in the United Kingdom, which may be more transmissible and more deadly than the original strain of the virus, is spreading in 27 European countries monitored by WHO, according to AP.

  • It's now the dominant strain in at least 10 countries: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.
  • Meanwhile, the variant first discovered in South Africa has been found in 26 European countries. Vaccine producers Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax have each reported their vaccines, while still effective, offer less protection against the South African variant.
  • The Brazilian variant, detected in 15 European countries, may be able to reinfect people who survived infections with earlier versions of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Italy's government tightened coronavirus restrictions in some of its 20 regions this week in response to the surge.

Go deeper

Sep 21, 2021 - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine could be available for children 5–11 in "weeks"

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN Tuesday that children ages 5–11 could be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the next several weeks.

Why it matters: The start of the school year brought a rise in COVID-19 infections among kids, underscoring questions about when younger children will be able to be inoculated against the virus.

Sep 22, 2021 - Health

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Sep 21, 2021 - Health

Biden to get booster shot on camera

Photo: Saul Loeb/ AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will receive his COVID booster shot on camera once it's fully approved for Americans ages 65 and older, the White House said Monday.

Why it matters: A federal advisory panel unanimously voted last week to recommend that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorize a third dose of Pfizer's vaccine for people over the age of 65 and those at higher risk of infection.