It is estimated that more than half of Europe’s population will be infected with the Omikron coronavirus variant in six to eight consecutive weeks, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, announced on Tuesday.
In the first week of 2022, over 7 million new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Old Continent, Kluge said at a press conference in Geneva. Compared to the data from two weeks ago, this more than doubles the new number of infections, he added.
“As predicted by the health assessment institute at the University of Washington in Seattle (IMHE), at this rate more than 50 percent of the region’s (Europe’s) population will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks,” said director Kluge.
The wave of infection with Omikron is already “putting to the test health care systems (…) in many countries, where the variant has rapidly spread. (Omikron) may also lead to overloading these systems in many other countries” – emphasized the expert.
Kluge also noted that the new variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than any previous one. He called on all European countries to make the wearing of masks in confined spaces mandatory, and to prioritize vaccine campaigns, including booster doses. This is especially true for people at increased risk of developing the disease, such as the elderly and healthcare professionals. (PAP)
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