Blow for Britain as Europe entering plausible endgame to pandemic, says WHO boss

Gove admits he was wrong for wanting more Covid restrictions

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Dr Hans Kluge, the director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Europe office, has stated Covid deaths have started to “plateau” in the continent, giving hope to a “possible endgame” to the pandemic. On Thursday, the Belgian public health expert said Europe had recorded 12 million new coronavirus cases over the past week.

With just over a month into this year, 2022 already accounts for 30 percent of all cases since the pandemic began, Dr Kluge stated.

However, Dr Kluge was hopeful as the “favourable seasonal pause as we move out of winter” as well as the “lower severity of the Omicron variant” will contribute to the infection decline.

He said: “For now, the number of deaths across the region is starting to plateau.”

He continued: “This context, that we have not experienced so far in this pandemic, leaves us with the possibility for a long period of tranquillity and a much higher level of population defence against any resurge in transmission, even with a more virulent variant.

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“This period of higher protection should be seen as a ceasefire that could bring us enduring peace.”

While the medical expert stated new variants are inevitable, he claimed lockdown measures which have been implemented in the past will no longer be needed.

He said: “I believe that it is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without reinstalling the kind of disruptive measures we needed before.

“And it is because we see that opportunity that the top priority is to bring all countries to a level of protection which allows them to grasp this opportunity too, and look ahead towards more stable days.

“But this demands a drastic and uncompromising increase in vaccine-sharing across borders.

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“We cannot accept vaccine inequity for one more day – vaccines must be for everyone, in the remotest corner of our vast region and beyond.”

Dr Kluge stated he believes Europe’s strategy should be “doing whatever it takes” to increase vaccine uptake.

Despite the hopeful comments from the European head of WHO, on Tuesday WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus did not offer such optimistic comments about the global state of the pandemic.

He said: “We are concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that, because of vaccines and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible and no longer necessary.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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