COVID-19: Omicron variant could be dominant in Europe (WHO regional director)

The World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe Hans Kluge has warned that the Omicron version of the coronavirus could be dominant in Europe as a “tidal wave” of infections spreads east.

“I’m also strongly concerned that with the version progressing eastward, we still have to expect to see the full impact (of the virus) …. We will see a more severe impact of the disease in the unvaccinated,” Kluge said In an online press conference on Tuesday.

According to a WHO official, the Omicron variant is currently spreading in the Balkans and is already present in 50 of the 53 countries that make up the region of Europe and Central Asia.

“At this rate, the Institute for the Measurement and Evaluation of Health (IMHE) predicts that more than 50% of the region’s population will be infected with the Omicron variant within the next 6 to 8 weeks”, a-he warned, adding that The number of hospitalizations is increasing due to the unprecedented scale of infections in the region.

To better manage the devastating impact of the coronavirus on health services, economies and societies, Mr Kluge called for concrete measures, including immediate action and planning for various incidents, as well as response systems during the “closing window”. Includes setting priorities. of opportunity”.

The WHO official also stressed the importance of protecting vulnerable populations and “minimizing disruptions to health systems and essential services”, calling on schools to remain open.

“Keeping schools open greatly benefits children’s mental, social and educational well-being. Schools should be the last to close and the first to reopen,” Kluge said.

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