The European Branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), on January 27, warned that it was “too early to ease up” as COVID-19 transmission rates on the continent remained too high. Speaking at a virtual press briefing from Geneva, the director of WHO/Europe stressed that the humankind had learnt a “harsh lesson” that recklessly opening, closing and reopening societies was a “poor strategy”. Highlighting that health systems and medical services continue to reel from immense pressure, the WHO health official called for a “consistent” effort against the infection spread.
“Transmission rates across Europe are still very high, impacting health systems and straining services, making it too early to ease up,” Kluge said. “Pushing transmission down requires a sustained, consistent effort. Bear in mind that just over 3% of people in the region have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Areas hit badly once can be hit again,” Kluge said.
Europe was one of the initial areas that were hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Since the detection of the first case, it has witnessed the infection spread to 29,666,181 people. Meanwhile, the caseload of fatalities has reached 684,957. Regardless of being highly developed, the UK is struggling to battle the pandemic and has imposed strict lockdowns till later February. Other nations like France, Spain, Italy are also battling hard to boost their drowning economies.
Talking about vaccination, Kluge revealed that as of now 35 European countries had launched vaccination programmes with 25 million does administer so far. However, he asserted that complete inoculation would take time and urged resident to be patient. The European medical association approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech in December allowing EU members to start mass inoculations by December 27.
“These vaccines have shown the efficacy and safety we all hoped they would...This monumental undertaking will release pressure on our health systems and undoubtedly save lives,” he said.