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COVID: Europe could be moving towards ‘some kind of end of the pandemic’, says WHO


Europe could be moving towards “a kind of end of the pandemic”, according to a regional director of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Hans Kluge, on the occasion of the second anniversary of the arrival of COVID on the continent, said that we were now entering a new phase of the disease.

He said the Omicron variant was displacing Delta at an unprecedented rate, accounting for a third of cases across the region.

“The pandemic is far from over, but I am hopeful that we can end the emergency phase in 2022 and address other health threats that urgently require our attention,” said Dr. Kluge, regional director for the European region of The OMS.

“Delays and waiting lists have increased, essential health services have been interrupted, and plans and preparations for climate-related health stresses and crises have been put on hold across the region.”

Dr. Kluge added that COVID could become a seasonal illness in the coming months.

“It is plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of end of pandemic,” he explained, adding that Omicron could infect 60% of Europeans by March.

Once the current surge of Omicron that is currently spreading across Europe subsides, “there will be global immunity for quite a few weeks and months, either because of the vaccine or because people have immunity because of the infection, and also because of the reduction in seasonality”.

“We anticipate that there will be a lull before COVID-19 may return towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the return of the pandemic,” added Dr. Kluge.

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The Omicron variant, which studies have shown to be more contagious than Delta but generally leads to less severe infection among vaccinated people, has raised long-awaited hopes that COVID is beginning to turn from a pandemic to a more endemic disease. manageable like the seasonal flu.

But Dr. Kluge cautioned that it was still too early to consider the coronavirus endemic.

“There’s a lot of talk about endemic, but endemic means … you can predict what’s going to happen. This virus has surprised us more than once, so we have to be very careful,” added Dr. Kluge.

New vaccine health pass begins in France

Meanwhile, in France, a new vaccination health passport will be introduced starting this Monday by which those over 16 years of age must prove that they have been punctured to access restaurants or bars, leisure activities or use interregional public transport.

The move comes despite a series of small-scale protests in Paris over the weekend and political resistance.

Opponents of the policy say the tightened measures will affect everyday “freedoms” and criticized what they called a form of social “apartheid.”

In Bordeaux, Anaelle, a nurse, criticized compulsory vaccination as “shameful”. “People who have been vaccinated get sick, so what’s the point?” she asked.

Although the size of the protests has diminished in recent weeks, a radical group remains angry with President Emmanuel Macron, who has warned he will continue to extend restrictions until the unvaccinated accept a coronavirus vaccine.

Coronavirus infections on the rise in Poland

On Sunday, more than 34,000 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Poland, 132% more than last week, according to the Polish Ministry of Health.

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However, 25 people who had contracted the coronavirus have died, ten fewer than a week ago.

More than 825,000 people are in quarantine and 13,491 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country.

A week ago, on January 16, there were more than 260,000 people in quarantine and two weeks ago, on January 9, there were more than 151,000 people.

“So far, 2,232 cases of Omicron have been detected, which is 35% of the sequenced samples,” the Ministry of Health said this Sunday.

Poland, a country of around 38 million, has a vaccination rate that is below the European Union average, with just over 21 million people being fully vaccinated.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 4.5 million infections have been detected in Poland and more than 104,000 people have died from COVID-19.


www.euronews.com

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