Moscow, Feb 3 (IANS) It is “far too early” to talk about the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge has said.
“Definitely, we cannot say that this is the end of the pandemic. This is far too early. This virus has surprised us greatly more than once – for example, the Delta virus. But yes, this is a cause for optimism. But, we should not relax,” Kluge told TASS news agency in an interview.
However, the current wave of infections with the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus will be strong but brief, he said..
According to Kluge, there are five pandemic stabilisers: vaccination, boosters, masks, ventilation, particularly of classrooms, increase in access to treatments.
“These are the five pandemic stabilisers, but we see based on the experience in countries, which have already reached the peak, that the wave will be strong but short, and the priority is to protect (shield) the vulnerable people,” he said.
The WHO Regional Director also said that although those infected with the Omicron variant have a milder form of the disease, it still causes post-Covid syndrome like any other strain.
“We definitely shouldn’t say – let the Omicron (variant) affect us, we do not need vaccination, it is milder. No, because there is also a syndrome which is called long-Covid. Up to 30 per cent of people with Covid-19 will suffer for months and months. We should not play with modern nature,” Kluge emphasised.
Kluge also called for revaccination against Covid-19, the report said.
“I encourage all people to get vaccinated, get boosted. Vaccines have already allowed us to avoid 500,000 deaths in our region,” he noted.
He stated that with vaccination “there is hope for optimism that we will get out of the acute phase of the pandemic”.