The European office of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday that COVID-19 should not lower its guard, as it is still responsible for about a thousand deaths per week in Europe. Although WHO declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global public health emergency, WHO regional director Hans Kluge emphasized that the disease has not gone away.
According to Kluge, about 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths continue to occur each week in the region, although this figure underestimates the situation due to a decline in the number of countries regularly reporting deaths attributed to the virus to the WHO. Kluge urged authorities to ensure vaccination of at least 70% of the vulnerable population as a preventive measure.
Kluge also stressed that COVID-19 is a complex disease about which very little is known, despite the fact that one in 30 Europeans has experienced long-lasting COVID symptoms in the past three years. According to the data, around 36 million people in the region, which spans 53 countries and extends into Central Asia, have been affected by long-lasting COVID.
WHO emergency manager Catherine Smallwood stressed the importance of continuing to pay attention to the long-term sequelae of COVID-19, as they continue to have a profound impact on people’s health and should not be ignored.
In addition to COVID-19, WHO Europe also highlighted the need to monitor the mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) epidemic, with 22 cases reported in May in the region.