Copenhagen: The World Health Organisation has said that an end may be in sight for the pandemic in Europe as deaths from Covid,-19 plateaued in recent months. A combination of vaccination coverage, natural immunity and the overall mildness of the Omicron variant had contributed to the slowdown of the pandemic in European nations, it said.
The success of current protection measures is evident despite a rise in hospitalizations, according to Hans Kluge, WHO's European Regional Director, who noted that it has not been "as rapid as the case incidence rate, and overall, admissions to intensive care have not increased significantly."
"This period of higher protection should be seen as a ceasefire that could bring us enduring peace," he said. "This context, that we have not experienced so far in this pandemic, leaves us with the possibility for a long period of tranquillity."
"It is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge - without re-installing the kind of disruptive measures we needed before," said the WHO official.
For continuing success, however, the vaccination coverage must be extended and governments and individuals should pledge to follow pandemic precautionary measures as well as the ability of authorities to "consolidate and preserve immunity."
"For now, the number of deaths across the Region is starting to plateau," Hans Kluge told reporters in Denmark on Thursday. The region has seen 12 million new cases of Covid-19 in the last week, the highest weekly total since the pandemic began. However, deaths and hospital admissions have dropped or are not showing significant increase in many places, which was a sign that the rest of the world should also focus on vaccination, Kluge emphasised.
"This demands a drastic and uncompromising increase in vaccine-sharing across borders. We cannot accept vaccine inequity for one more day - vaccines must be for everyone, in the remotest corner of our vast region and beyond," he said.