Covid: 500,000 could die in new wave of disease in Europe, says WHO

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The World Health Organization said it was ‘very concerned’ about increases in cases of coronavirus infection in several European countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is “very concerned” about the increase in covid-19 cases in Europe, which is experiencing a new wave of coronavirus infections.

In an interview with the BBC, Hans Kluge, WHO regional director, said that 500,000 new deaths could occur by March, if urgent measures are not adopted.

Kluge said that requiring the use of a mask, for example, would have an immediate effect in containing infections. The WHO warning comes at a time when several countries are experiencing record rates of infection. Some are introducing full or partial lockdowns.

Kluge says a number of factors are behind the new wave of covid, such as the arrival of winter, insufficient vaccine coverage and the prevalence of the Delta variant in Europe, which is more transmissible. He advocated increasing the pace of vaccinations, adopting basic public health measures and introducing new treatments to help fight deaths from the disease.