The Labor Health Organization (WHO) says continental Europe may be able to end the COVID-19 emergency phase in 2022, mainly due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has been shown to be less severe than the previously dominant COVID. 19 variant, delta.
According to a statement issued by the Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans-Henri B. Kluge, two years after the discovery of COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia, the epidemic is not over yet, but he hopes the epidemic is heading towards “a kind of epidemic end game”.
“Omicron is replacing delta with unprecedented speed. Less than two months after it was first detected in South Africa, it now accounts for 31.8 percent of cases across the European region, up from 15 percent in the previous week, and 6.3 percent in the week that preceded it,” Kluge notes, noting the worldwide prevalence of the Omicron variant, TheSchengen.com reports.
Dr Kluge also highlights that people who are hospitalized with Omicron are less likely to end up in intensive care units, although the majority of those who need intensive care in Europe are not immunized.
About two weeks ago, TheSchengen.com reported that EU member states are considering starting to treat the coronavirus like the flu.
Among the member states insisting that the bloc begin to get used to living with COVID-19 is Spain, which has called on the rest of the European Union to start treating the virus as an endemic epidemic.
“We have to assess the evolution of Covid from a pandemic to an endemic disease,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in an interview on January 10.
Commenting on the idea, experts at TheSchengen.com confirmed at the time that other EU countries would soon join Spain in the idea, as a large proportion of member states have recently eased travel restrictions by removing testing obligations and shortening quarantine periods, despite the spread of Omicron.
>> These EU/Schengen countries ease travel restrictions despite high COVID-19 cases
Anticipating the end of the epidemic emergency in Europe, the World Health Organization also notes that new variants of COVID-19 will appear and return due to weak immunity and winter seasonality.
“But with robust surveillance and monitoring of new variants, higher vaccination uptake and third doses, ventilation, equitable and affordable access to antivirals, targeted testing, protection of at-risk groups with high-quality masks and physical distancing should a new variant emerge, among others,” Dr. Kluge said in his statement. Other things, I believe the new wave no longer requires a return to the era of epidemics or population-wide lockdowns or similar measures.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), as of January 10 this year, nearly two out of three people in the European region have been infected with COVID-19 at least once, or 63% of the continent’s population.
A total of 123 million cases have been detected in the region, since the first COVID-19 cases were detected in the region, which is more than a third of confirmed cases globally.