Covid crisis like in India could 'happen anywhere', warns WHO

Covid crisis like in India could 'happen anywhere', warns WHO

Head of WHO Europe said countries should not make the mistake of relaxing restrictions too soon.

In a stark warning to European nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that relaxing Covid measures can create a "perfect storm" similar to the pandemic situation in India.

New infections and deaths are soaring in India. Experts have indicated that the massive wave can in part be blamed on mass gatherings.

"When personal protective measures are being relaxed, when there are mass gatherings, when there are more contagious variants and the vaccination coverage is still low this can create a perfect storm in any country," Hans Kluge, head of WHO Europe told reporters Thursday.

"It is very important to realise that the situation in India can happen anywhere."

The coronavirus variant first detected in India is sweeping the country. There hasn't been any confirmation from the WHO whether the variant is more transmissible or more deadly than other coronavirus strains.

Kluge asked European nations to keep in mind that "individual and collective public health and social measures remain dominant factors in shaping the pandemic's course".

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He further said that though number of new cases in the region fell "significantly" last week for the first time in two months, "infection rates across the region remain extremely high".

He said vaccines were on the rise in the European region, with seven percent of the population now fully inoculated.

The WHO said this means that more people in Europe have now received the vaccine than the number of people who have been infected with the disease.

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