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WHO calls on Europe to “do more” against the virus

The Geneva-based organization on Thursday called on European countries to take more action in the face of “an alarming situation” due to the circulation of a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus. Contrary to the latest decisions of Luxembourg.

The Geneva-based organization on Thursday called on European countries to take more action in the face of “an alarming situation” due to the circulation of a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus. Contrary to the latest decisions of Luxembourg.

(AFP) – Twenty-two countries in the European zone have now recorded cases linked to the new strain of covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday. A phenomenon which Luxembourg has not escaped. It is estimated that this variant of the virus “could gradually replace others circulating across the region, as seen in the UK and increasingly in Denmark,” WHO European director Hans Kluge said during an online press point.

An observation that worries. Because of its increased transmissibility, the variant risks worsening the number of cases and contributing to saturating health systems, according to the UN organization. “For a short time we’re going to have to do more than we have done, and step up public health and social measures to be sure to smooth out the sharply rising trends in some countries,” Kluge called.

According to the director, the objective is to “lower transmission” in order to “relieve our covid-19 services and save lives,” he added. It is therefore important to generalize the wearing of masks, limit the number of social gatherings, respect physical distance and hand washing, and combine these measures with adequate screening and tracing systems and the isolation of patients, a detailed Kluge.

The so-called British variant does not change the nature of the disease, however, recalled the director of WHO Europe: “covid-19 is neither more nor less serious” and “children do not seem to be more exposed” . The WHO still recommends keeping schools open but does not rule out their closure as part of measures to decrease transmission. “The principle has not changed: schools must be the last thing to close and the first to reopen”, summarized Catherine Smallwood, in charge of emergency situations.

But good news, early indications suggest that covid-19 vaccines remain effective against the British variant. Severely affected by the pandemic, the WHO’s European zone, which includes several Central Asian countries, has recorded more than 27.6 million cases and 603,000 deaths, according to the organization’s surveillance table. Significant levels of excess mortality were recorded in many countries in the area in 2020 compared to previous years, she said Thursday.

But while several European countries are tightening the screws a bit, the Luxembourg government announced on Monday a slight reduction in the health system currently in place. From next week, schools, cinemas and shops will reopen their doors, the practice of a sports activity will be authorized again and the curfew will be pushed back to 11 p.m., compared to 9 p.m. currently. Decisions strongly contested both by the opposition and on the other side of the borders.


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