The WHO says care home residents account for up to half of coronavirus deaths in Europe

Residents in long-term care facilities account for up to half of coronavirus-related deaths in Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said there was a “deeply concerning picture” emerging of the impact coronavirus (Covid-19) is having on those in care.

He told a press conference on 23 April that the way some care facilities operate is “providing pathways” for the virus to spread within the population.

Dr Kluge said: “According to estimates from countries in the European region, up to half of those who have died from Covid-19 were resident in long-term care facilities.

“This is an unimaginable human tragedy.”

Asked how many of Europe’s care home deaths were from the UK, Dr Catherine Smallwood told the briefing the WHO has not yet been provided with the latest up-to-date figures.

The sentiments echoed those shared by the government’s Chief Medical Officer, professor Chris Whitty, who said he was “sure we will see a high mortality rate sadly in care homes, because this is a very, very vulnerable group”.

Read on...

He told reporters on 22 April that the 826 deaths reported in England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the week ending April 10 were “an underestimate”.

These latest figures bring the total number of reported Covid-19 care home deaths since the start of the outbreak to 1,043.

Care home bosses have expressed concerns over acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing, and one told the PA news agency that some types of equipment are up to 24 times more expensive than they were before the pandemic.

Dr Kluge said that PPE should be provided, and testing of any suspected cases in care facilities should be “prioritised”.

He said that staff working in care homes need to start being paid “appropriately”, as they are “often overstretched, underpaid and unprotected”.

Dr Kluge also told the briefing that 50% of the world’s Covid-19 cases – over 1.2 million – have been recorded in Europe and more than 110,000 people have died.

The news comes as the government is trying to recruit thousands more people to work in social care as the sector faces ongoing pressures due to the pandemic.

The ‘care for others make a difference’ campaign will encourage care providers to list vacancies on new website www.everydayisdifferent.com.

Minister for care, Helen Whately said: “We want to bring together all those thinking they might work in care with social care providers looking for new recruits and to make it as simple as possible for the doors to open up for thousands more compassionate and committed people to work in care.”

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us