Mumbai: WHO’s European chief Hans Kluge has warned countries to brace for a “significant surge” in COVID-19 cases as Omicron spreads.
Since it emerged in late November, Omicron has been detected in at least 38 of the 53 countries in the WHO’s European region and is already dominant in many of them, including Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom, in Vienna. Hans Kluge said. Told in a press conference.
“We can see another storm coming,” said Kluge. “Within weeks, Omicron will dominate in more countries of the region, pushing already stretched health systems further to the brink.”
The WHO Europe region includes Russia and other former Soviet republics as well as Turkey.
WHO data shows the region has reported the most COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, compared to the size of the population anywhere. Even before Omicron, officials had warned of another 700,000 deaths from the disease by March.
WHO headquarters in Geneva has advised that vaccine boosters be saved for the most vulnerable, but Kluge urged people to “boost, boost, boost.”
“The booster is the single most important defence against Omicron,” he said.
The WHO said on Monday that Omicron is spreading faster than the Delta variant, causing infections in people already vaccinated or recovered from the disease. Its chief scientist has called it “unwise” to conclude from early evidence it is a milder variant than previous ones.