Covid could be an endemic in Europe by the end of 2022: WHO Director

The WHO director said that Covid cases might increase again towards the end of the year, but it won’t hopefully be a pandemic situation

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WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, stated on Sunday that the Omicron variant might “bring the pandemic to an end in Europe”, reported AFP. He said, “It's plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame.”

Kluge said that Omicron might infect 60% of Europe’s population by March, and that along with vaccination, might result in a global immunity for “some weeks and months”. The WHO director said that Covid cases might increase again towards the end of the year, but it won’t hopefully be a pandemic situation.

US scientist Anthony Fauci too had told ABC News on Sunday that Covid cases are decreasing sharply and if the trend continues, there might be a “turnaround throughout the entire country”. The WHO’s office in Africa too reported that Covid cases and deaths are decreasing in the region.

News agency AFP wrote, while “Omicron has raised long-awaited hopes that Covid-19 is starting to shift from a pandemic to a more manageable endemic illness”, Kluge says that it is still too early. He said that it is possible that other variants of Covid emerge in the coming time. “This virus has surprised (us) more than once so we have to be very careful,” he added.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Markets, said that vaccines will be able to adapt to and resist any new variants. He said, “We will be ready to adapt the vaccines, especially the mRNA ones, if necessary to adapt them to more virulent variants.”


AFP reported that in the January 18 week, Omicron accounted for 15% of all the cases in WHO’s Europe region, while it accounted for only 6.3% cases in the week before that, making it the dominant variant.

Kluge has advised that emphasis should be laid on “minimising disruption of hospitals, schools and the economy, and putting huge efforts on protecting the vulnerable”. According to AFP, Kluge said that the priority should be to control and stabilise the situation in Europe, so that other essential health care services are not affected.

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