Inside Story

Why are COVID-19 infections rising sharply in Europe?

World Health Organization warns of 500,000 more deaths by February in the pandemic ‘epicentre’.

In the warm months of July and August, much of Europe gave the impression the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was over.

Countries lifted their COVID-19 restrictions, people travelled for holidays again, and there was no need to wear masks in many places.

But infections are now rising to record levels. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the region is, once again, the centre of the pandemic, urging governments to re-impose restrictions and step up vaccination campaigns.

Vaccines are readily available, but many people still refuse to take them.

So what has gone wrong? And will Europeans have to spend another winter in lockdown?

Presenter: Rob Matheson


Annelies Wilder-Smith – Professor of emerging infectious diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Lawrence Young – Infectious diseases specialist, Warwick Medical School

Maria Ganczak – Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Zielona Gora