Covid could kill 500,000 people in new wave in Europe, says WHO director

The WHO said it was ‘very concerned’ about increases in cases of coronavirus infection in several European countries – Photo: Reuters

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 in Europe, which is experiencing a new wave of infections by the coronavirus. The agency said it is “very concerned” about the rise in covid-19 cases.

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.

The direct also says that a number of factors are behind the new wave of covid. The arrival of winter, insufficient vaccine coverage and the prevalence of the Delta variant in Europe, which is more transmissible, are some of the reasons. With information from the BBC.

He advocated increasing the pace of vaccinations, adopting basic public health measures and introducing new treatments to help fight deaths from the disease. “Covid-19 has once again become the leading cause of death in our region,” he told the BBC. “We know what needs to be done (to fight the disease).”

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Director of WHO talks about mandatory vaccine

Kluge said measures to make covid vaccination compulsory should be seen as a “last resort” but said it was time for “a legal and social debate” on the matter.

“Before that, there are other means, such as the vaccination passport,” he said. For the WHO director, the vaccination ‘passport’ “is not a restriction on freedom, but an instrument to maintain individual freedom.”

Austria became on Friday (19) the first European country to announce that vaccination against covid will become a legal requirement. The new rules take effect in February.

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