WHO: More than half of Europe could be infected with Covid-19 in the next two months
The Omicron variant is projected to infect more than half of Europeans in the next six to eight weeks, according to a World Health Organization official.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe at a virtual press conference called on countries to tighten rules and said European and Central Asian countries would remain "under great pressure from Covid-19" in 2022.
"Today, the Omicron variant represents a new wave of the Western tide in the East that includes the regions and all the countries that were managing it well by the end of 2021. At this rate the Institute for Metrics and Health Assessment predicts that more than 50 "% of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6 to 8 weeks." said Klugen.
He called on countries not yet affected by the mass increase in cases "to start using high-quality masks indoors and to ensure that 'vulnerable' individuals have access to them because of the highly transmissible Omicron variant ”.
He explained that Europe has yet to see the full impact of the variant in countries "where vaccination levels are lower" and that he is "deeply concerned about the spread of Omicron in Eastern Europe where we will see more serious diseases in the unvaccinated. ”
Eastern European countries have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, despite an abundance of injections, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which tracks vaccinations in the European Union.
Kluge's calls come as other health authorities consider strengthening guidance on measures to help treat Omicron.
While school facilities are among the fastest growing countries in many European countries, Kluge stressed that they should be "the last places to close and the first to reopen".
He reiterated the WHO recommendations for educational facilities: ventilation, hand hygiene and the use of face masks.
Kluge added that "countries may wish to consider reviewing protocols for testing, isolating and quarantining classroom contacts to minimize learning disruption, mitigating these risks as much as possible with good ventilation and use." of the mask ".