Europe and central Asia are once again the “epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic, and could see another half a million Covid deaths by February, according to Hans Kluge, the head of the World Health Organisation’s Europe region.

If we stay on this trajectory, Kluge warned on Thursday, 43 countries across Europe and central Asia (out of the 53 that make up the region in total) “will face high to extreme stress on hospital beds at some point through the same period.”

Covid hospital admissions across the region have more than doubled in a week, according to the latest WHO/Europe data.