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Regional Bureau for Europe: COVID-19 Emergency Response, Update # 30 (1 – 31 July 2021)

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Regional COVID-19 infection rates continued rising through mid-July, before levelling off toward the end of the month. Movement and travel restrictions continued to be in general cautiously relaxed.

Despite COVID-19 prevention measures limiting international travel due to the spread of new variants, access to territory for persons of concern was generally maintained.

Movement restrictions continue to impact UNHCR staff in country offices. To date, 34 offices are partially teleworking, one is fully teleworking, and one had shifted out of telework mode.

Operational Context

▪ All 49 countries and one territory in the region have reported COVID-19 cases among the general population. To date, 40 countries and one territory have reported cases among persons of concern at some point. Some of the concerned individuals have in the meantime recovered. However, any figures or estimates should be taken with caution due to varying approaches to testing, data segregation and reporting.

▪ According to the WHO, after reaching a low point in mid-June, regional infection rates continued to rise rapidly through mid-July, mainly due to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, before levelling off toward the end of the month. Restrictions on travel and social gatherings continued to be in general cautiously relaxed, except where Delta variant spread remained a concern. COVID-19 vaccinations progressed across the region, reaching more populations of concern alongside the general population.

▪ At the end of July, one UNHCR office continued in full telework mode, and 34 offices in partial telework mode. One office had shifted out of telework mode altogether. Visits to reception centres are strictly regulated, and outbreaks in collective accommodation or detention centres continue to temporarily limit the ability of UNHCR and partners to access persons of concern in some countries.