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Over 50% of Europeans on track to contract Omicron: WHO

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SWITZERLAND,UK,US: More than 50 per cent of Europe’s population could be infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease in the next six-eight weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Dr Hans Kluge, European Regional Director of WHO, told reporters in Denmark on Tuesday that more than seven million COVID-19 cases were seen in the European Region in the first week of 2022.

As of 10 January, 26 countries in Europe reported that over 1 per cent of their population had been infected with COVID-19 each week, an official statement read.

“It is challenging health systems and service delivery in many countries where Omicron has spread at speed and threatens to overwhelm in many more,” Dr Kluge said.

Meanwhile, WHO experts warned Tuesday that repeating booster doses of the original COVID-19 vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants and called for new jabs that better protect against transmission.

An expert group created by the World Health Organization to assess the performance of COVID-19 vaccines said simply providing fresh jabs of existing COVID vaccines as new strains of the virus emerge was not the best way to fight the pandemic.

The group said there could be a need to update the existing vaccines to better target emerging Covid variants, like Omicron which has spread rapidly and has been detected in 149 countries so far.

And it called for the development of new jabs that not only protect people who contract COVID against falling seriously ill but also better prevent people from catching the virus in the first place.

Meanwhile, Scientists are seeing signals that COVID-19’s alarming omicron wave may have peaked in Britain and is about to do the same in the U.S., at which point cases may start dropping off dramatically.

The reason: The variant has proved so wildly contagious that it may already be running out of people to infect, just a month and a half after it was first detected in South Africa.

At the same time, experts warn that much is still uncertain about how the next phase of the pandemic might unfold. The plateauing or ebbing in the two countries is not happening everywhere at the same time or at the same pace. And weeks or months of misery still lie ahead for patients and overwhelmed hospitals even if the drop-off comes to pass.



Thursday, January 13, 2022 – 01:00

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