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New Covid-19 wave imminent – WHO

A health official has stated that authorities must take immediate action to prevent chaos and disruptions in Europe.

The new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit Europe, and health authorities must act now to mitigate its fallout, the World Health Organization’s officer in Europe said on Tuesday.

To wait until autumn acts will make it too late” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said in a statement.

It’s now 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, with each dominant sub-lineage of Omicron showing clear transmission advantages over the previously circulating viruses,” he pointed out.

Kluge said that hospitals will see an increase in their numbers in autumn and winter, as school reopens and holiday-goers return to the country. According to the WHO official, people will also spend more time indoors in future than they currently do.

Kluge also reminded that Europe saw a threefold increase in new Covid-19 cases over six weeks. Nearly half of all global cases were reported by Europe last week.

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The WHO Regional Director pointed out that although intensive-care unit admissions are relatively low so far, nearly 3,000 Europeans die from Covid-19 every week.

Kluge, with these grim prospects in mind, urged authorities not to stop trying to minimize the effects of this new wave and to take steps to ease the strain on the national health systems. According to Kluge, Covid-19 could be supported through an increase in vaccination rates, wearing masks indoors and on public transportation, ventilating crowded areas, and an increased number of people being vaccinated.

My message to governments and health authorities is to act now to prepare for the coming months… If health authorities act now, they can help reduce the anticipated disruptions to society, including health-worker absences and overburdened health systems, struggling businesses and travel chaos,” Kluge reiterated.

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