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WHO urges Europe to avert COVID-19 surge

The World Health Organization has warned European nations to adequately prepare against future spread of the already existing virus.

WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge urged countries to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by an Omicron offshoot and avoid stricter measures later in the year, Tuesday.

Dr Hans Kluge said action should be taken to avoid overwhelming health systems in the autumn and winter as the Omicron sub variant, BA.5, continues to spread rapidly.

According to Reuters, close to three million new COVID-19 cases were reported in Europe last week, which accounted for nearly half of all new cases globally.

“People sometimes ask, is the virus back. It’s still there. It’s spreading. It is mutating. And unfortunately, it’s still taking a lot of lives after two and a half years of the pandemic and related lockdowns and disruptions, countries are now also having to deal with surging inflation and increased food insecurity caused partly by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but governments still need to invest further in healthcare, Kluge said.

Kluge said hospitalization rates have doubled over the same period, and close to 3,000 people die of the disease every week.

Reporting by Nkiruka Nwachukwu; editing by Adeniyi Bakare