Daily Covid infections have hit an all-time high in Germany as the World Health Organization warned that another 500,000 people could die across Europe, with cases once again on the rise.
Europe registered a 55% rise in Covid-19 cases in the last four weeks, despite the availability of vaccines, which should serve as a "warning shot" to other regions, according to officials from the WHO.
WHO emergency director Mike Ryan said that some European countries have "sub-optimal vaccination coverage" despite availability.
"It's a warning shot for the world to see what is happening in Europe despite availability of vaccination," Dr Ryan told a news conference.
Daily Covid infections today hit an all-time high in Germany. The EU's most populous country saw nearly 34,000 new cases over the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
Croatia also hit a new daily record, with 6,310 people testing positive, following in the footsteps of Russia which has repeatedly shattered its own records in recent weeks.
Over the past seven days, Russia - a country with strong vaccine hesitancy - has led the rise with more than 8,100 deaths, followed by Ukraine with over 3,800 deaths and Romania with 3,100 deaths, according to AFP data.
Italy has reported 59 coronavirus-related deaths today, according to the health ministry.
It said the daily tally of new infections rose to 5,905 from 5,188.
Italy has registered 132,283 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world.
The country has reported 4.8 million cases to date.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation's Europe head has warned that the current rate of Covid-19 transmission in Europe is of "grave concern".
Dr Hans Kluge said new cases are nearing record levels, adding that the situation is made worse by the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus.
"The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region, is of grave concern," Dr Kluge said.
With 78 million cases in the WHO's European region - which spans 53 countries and territories and includes several nations in Central Asia - the cumulative toll now exceeded that of South East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Western Pacific, and Africa combined, the organisation said.
"We are, once again, at the epicentre," Dr Kluge told a press conference.
According to "one reliable projection" the current trajectory would mean "another half a million Covid-19 deaths" by February, he added.
Dr Kluge blamed the soaring caseload on "insufficient vaccination coverage" and "the relaxation of public health and social measures".
Hospital admission rates were higher in countries with lower vaccination rates, he said.
Measures such as testing, tracing, physical distancing and the use of face masks were still part of the "arsenal" in fighting the virus.
"We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of Covid-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place," Dr Kluge said.
The number of new cases per day has been rising for nearly six consecutive weeks in Europe and the number of new deaths per day has been rising for just over seven consecutive weeks, with about 250,000 cases and 3,600 deaths per day, according to official country data compiled by AFP.