Tokyo: A third of European nations, including Germany, France and the U.K., are seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases after “brutally” easing restrictions, the World Health Organization’s regional head said.
“The countries where we see in particular an increase are the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, France, Italy and Germany,” Hans Kluge, the WHO’s director for Europe, said at a briefing in Moldova on Tuesday. “Those countries are lifting restrictions brutally from too much to too few.”
Europe is trying to leave Covid-19 behind, but the rush to unwind restrictions is now setting the stage for a revival of pandemic risks. Newly confirmed cases climbed to 5.4 million in the past seven days, up from 4.9 million at the end of February, according to WHO data. More than 12,400 people died from Covid in the past week, according to WHO.
Still, Kluge said he is “optimistic and vigilant” about the pandemic in Europe because many people have built up immunity through vaccinations, winter is drawing to a close and omicron is a milder strain than previous variants. However, in countries with low vaccination rates, it’s still a disease that kills people, he said.
“On the prognosis, it’s difficult to tell because this virus has surprised us many times,” he Kluge. –Bloomberg
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