#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Sunday 22 May 2022
Advertisement

WHO director says Europe could be headed for pandemic 'endgame'

Across the entire European region, Omicron accounts for 15% of all Covid-19 cases.

Hans
Hans
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE OMICRON VARIANT has moved the Covid-19 pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in Europe, the WHO Europe director said today.

“It’s plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame,” Hans Kluge told AFP in an interview, adding that Omicron could infect 60% of Europeans by March.

Once the current surge of Omicron currently sweeping across Europe subsides, “there will be for quite some weeks and months a global immunity, either thanks to the vaccine or because people have immunity due to the infection, and also lowering seasonality.”

“So we anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before Covid-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back,” Kluge said.

The Omicron variant, which studies have shown generally leads to less severe infection among vaccinated people than Delta, has raised long-awaited hopes that Covid-19 is starting to shift from a pandemic to a more manageable endemic illness like seasonal flu.

“There is a lot of talk about endemic but endemic means … that it is possible to predict what’s going to happen. This virus has surprised (us) more than once so we have to be very careful”, Kluge said.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

In the WHO Europe region, which comprises 53 countries including several in Central Asia, Omicron represented 15% of new cases as of January 18, compared to 6.3% a week earlier, the health body said.

The Omicron variant has been the dominant variant in Ireland since mid-December, with case numbers outstripping all previous records in the country.

© AFP 2022

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (70)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel