Health

WHO advises Europe to wear masks again


As the number of hospital admissions due to Covid in Europe doubled, WHO urged countries to wear masks again and speed up vaccination.

World Health Organization (WHO) Europe director Hans Kluge said countries should act immediately to avoid overwhelming health systems in the fall and winter, when Omicron’s subtype is BA. 5 spread rapidly.

The WHO reported more than three million new Covid-19 cases in Europe last week, accounting for almost half of the total global cases. Hospitalization rates have doubled, with nearly 3,000 people dying from the virus every week, Kluge said on July 19.

He said countries need to take “stabilizing measures” during the period of normal social activity, such as booster doses of vaccines, wearing masks and improving ventilation in enclosed spaces.

According to Mr. Kluge, countries should inject a second booster dose (dose 4) for immunocompromised people (age 5 and older) and close contacts. He also recommended that people wear masks indoors and on public transport.

“Sometimes people ask if the virus has come back. It hasn’t gone away but is still there, spreading, mutating and unfortunately still taking many lives,” said the head of WHO Europe.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge speaks during a press conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Image: Reuters

According to WHO, the world is in a similar situation last summer. As the number of infections increases, the number of people hospitalized will also increase, especially in the fall and winter, when schools reopen. This scenario poses a huge challenge to the health services of countries, which have been under enormous pressure from dealing with crises since 2020.

“As a reminder, my message to governments and health authorities around the world is to act now to prepare for the coming months,” Kluge said, adding that it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere. , experienced a very strong flu epidemic, along with Covid-19, which strained the health system. This scenario will be similar in the Northern Hemisphere next fall and winter.

WHO expressed concern that when the number of tests is limited, countries stop or significantly reduce Covid-19 surveillance, creating a dangerous blind spot in knowledge about the evolution of the virus. Kluge called on countries to strengthen Covid-19 surveillance broadly based on the number of infected people. He considers it an “important tool against viruses”.

According to WHO, Covid-19 remains a dangerous, potentially fatal disease. Reinfections with nCoV occur more frequently as the virus continuously evolves, each infection can lead to long-term sequelae.

Thuc Linh (Follow Reuters)

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