European region approaching plausible endgame in Covid fight: WHO

Copenhagen : The European region is approaching “a plausible endgame” in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic despite an ongoing surge in cases, a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said.”For now, the number of deaths across the Region is starting to plateau,” Hans Kluge, WHO’s European Regional Director, told reporters here on Thursday.The region has seen 12 million new cases of Covid-19 in the last week, the highest weekly total since the pandemic began.The success of current protection measures is evident despite a rise in hospitalizations, according to Kluge, who noted that it has not been “as rapid as the case incidence rate, and overall, admissions to intensive care have not increased significantly”.”It is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without re-installing the kind of disruptive measures we needed before,” said the WHO official.

According to Kluge, the convergence of three factors vaccine, natural immunity, and the milder Omicron variant provides “an opportunity to take control of transmissions”.”This period of higher protection should be seen as a ceasefire that could bring us enduring peace.”However, “enduring peace” was contingent, according to Kluge, on authorities’ ability to “consolidate and preserve immunity” through vaccination, strong governmental oversight and commitment, self-protecting behaviour and individual responsibility, and “intensified surveillance”.Referring to the Omicron variant sweeping from the European region’s highly vaccinated West to the poorly vaccinated East, Kluge emphasised that the top priority was to bring all countries in the region to a similar level of protection.”This demands a drastic and uncompromising increase in vaccine-sharing across borders. We cannot accept vaccine inequity for one more day vaccines must be for everyone, in the remotest corner of our vast region and beyond,” he said.



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