Europe faces COVID-19 challenges as cases triple, WHO warns
Regional chief calls on countries to relaunch mitigation efforts, prepare for increased burden on health-care systems
The head of WHO Europe region which comprises 53 countries warned Tuesday that rapidly escalating COVID-19 cases amid reduced virus surveillance point to a challenging autumn and winter.
“It’s abundantly clear we’re in a similar situation to last summer – only this time the ongoing COVID-19 wave is being propelled by sub-lineages of the omicron variant, notably BA.2 and BA.5,” Hans Kluge said in a statement.
He said the European region has seen a tripling of new COVID-19 cases over the past six weeks, with close to 3 million new cases reported last week, accounting for nearly half of all new cases globally.
With rising cases, Kluge said they are also seeing a rise in hospitalizations, which are set to increase further in the autumn and winter months as schools reopen, people return from holidays and social mixing moves indoors with the onset of colder weather.
Europe is still seeing close to 3,000 people die of COVID-19 every week, he added.
He released the UN health body's autumn/winter strategy for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses "to help prepare for the coming waves of infection."
The strategy calls on countries to relaunch mitigation efforts and prepare for an increased burden on their health-care systems.
It includes increasing vaccine uptake in the general population; administering a second booster dose to immunocompromised people, promoting mask-wearing indoors and on public transportation, and ventilating crowded and public spaces.
This is an independent news agency. We are a group of free and independent journalists from around the world who together try to revive human rights. Our mission is to investigate and provide the news and events happening around to reveal truth to you in seven living languages of the world.