facing “an alarming situation”, Europe must do “more”

Europe needs to “do more” in the face of “an alarming situation” due to the circulation in the region of a new, more contagious variant of coronavirus, first discovered in the UK and called on Thursday the regional leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“These are the basic measures, as we all know, that must be stepped up to slow down transmission, relieve our Covid-19 services and save lives,” said WHO European Director-General Hans Kluge in an online press release.

It is important to generalize the use of masks, limit the number of social gatherings, respect physical distance and hand washing, and combine these measures with adequate screening and tracking systems and isolation of patients, a- he detailed.

22 countries have registered cases related to the new burden

According to the organization’s estimates, the new load could “gradually replace others circulating throughout the region, as seen in the United Kingdom and increasingly in Denmark.”

22 countries in the European zone, which includes 53 including Russia, have now registered cases related to this new burden, the WHO said.

The so-called British variant (“VOC 202012/01”) does not change the nature of the disease: “Covid-19 is neither more nor less serious” and “children do not appear to be more vulnerable”, recalls Mr. Kluge. Early indications also suggest that Covid-19 vaccines are effective against the variant.

Increased transferability

However, due to the increased transmissibility, the variant risks worsening the number of cases and contributing to saturating health systems, according to the WHO.

“This is an alarming situation, which means that in a short time we will have to do more than we have done, and intensify public health and social measures to be sure to smooth out the very sharply rising curves. land, ”said Kluge.

Extremely affected by the pandemic, Europe has registered more than 27.6 million cases and 603,000 deaths, according to the organization’s monitoring table.