TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

Covid: Europe set for ‘long period of tranquillity’ in pandemic, says WHO

Covid: Europe set for ‘long period of tranquillity’ in pandemic, says WHO

Vaccinations, milder Omicron and arrival of spring should keep death rate low as cases rise to all time high

Europe could soon enter a “long period of tranquillity” that amounts to a “ceasefire” in the pandemic thanks to the less severe Omicron variant, high levels of immunity and the arrival of warmer spring weather, the World Health Organization has said.

In an upbeat assessment, Hans Kluge, the WHO’s Europe director, said the region was in a position of “higher protection” that could “bring us enduring peace”, even if a new, more virulent variant than Omicron should emerge.

Kluge said the 53-country region – which includes the UK – had recorded 12 million new coronavirus cases last week, the highest single weekly total of the pandemic, with about 22% of all tests returning a positive result.

However, hospital admissions, although growing, were not rising at the same rate and the number of patients in intensive care was not increasing significantly, he said. The number of deaths across the region was also starting to plateau.

Kluge said “a large capital of vaccine-derived and natural immunity, a favourable seasonality pause and a lower severity of the Omicron variant” meant governments now had “a singular opportunity to take control of transmission”.

This opened up the prospect of “a long period of tranquillity and a much higher level of population defence” against any fresh resurgence in infection rates, he said.

The optimistic forecast comes days after Kluge said it was “plausible” the region was “moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame”.

But Kluge stressed on Thursday that authorities must use the respite constructively, by continuing vaccine and booster campaigns, protecting the most vulnerable, promoting individual responsibility and intensifying surveillance to detect new variants.

“I believe it is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without reinstalling the kind of disruptive measures we needed before,” he said. But he added it must now be a top priority to ensure all countries are equally well protected.

“This demands a drastic and uncompromising increase in vaccine-sharing across borders,” Kluge said. “We cannot accept vaccine inequity for one more day – vaccines must be for everyone, in the remotest corner of our vast region and beyond.”

On the eve of World Cancer Day, the WHO regional director also noted the “catastrophic impact” the pandemic had had on people with cancer as health systems struggled with screening, diagnosis and treatment during the past two years.

During the early stages of the pandemic, he said, diagnosis of invasive tumours fell by 44% in Belgium, colorectal screenings decreased by 46% in Italy, and in Spain the number of cancers diagnosed in 2020 was 34% lower than expected.

The situation in many countries had improved since then, he said, but “the knock-on effect of this disruption will be felt for years” and any respite from the pandemic must be used immediately to reduce backlogs for chronic care services.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
×