More than half of the European population are expected to be infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant within the next six to eight weeks, the World Health Organization’s top Europe official said on Tuesday (January 11).
Europe saw more than 7 million newly reported Covid-19 cases in the first week of 2022, more than doubling over a two-week period, the WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing.
“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50% of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks,” Kluge said.
However, current approved vaccines continue to provide a protection and reduce severe disease, hospitalisation and death, he said.
Kluge also called on countries to keep school open. “Schools should be the last places to close and the first to reopen,” he said.
Speaking at the same briefing, WHO’s incident manager for health emergencies programme, Catherine Smallwood said that Covid-19 is not endemic yet.