The regional director of Europe for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Hans Henri P Kluge, has asked that European countries guide their transition towards a “new normality” with the sanitary principles outlined by the organisation, as the possibility of a second wave of infections of the new coronavirus could be “extremely destructive.”
Currently, in Europe, there are more than two million people who are either infected or have been infected and, sadly, over 181,000 people have died as a result of this.
Although the number of weekly cases in Europe has almost halved since April, Kluge warns that the risk of infection is still “very high.”
On this note, the WHO leader recalled that some countries, such as Russia or Ukraine, are experiencing a constant stabilisation, or even a decrease, in infections. However, other countries have experienced a slight increase as they adjust to some of the public health measures which have been approved to contain the progression of the virus.
For this reason, Kluge insists that the transition towards a ‘new normality’ should be extremely grounded in the principles of public health, as well as other social and economic aspects.
“The transition must be done in a gradual and careful way” especially because “a second wave is not unavoidable… there is a clear threat that infections could once again rise,” he advises.
Given that there is still no vaccine, Europe is in no better position than it was at the beginning of the crisis, although it has become much more manageable.
Until there is a safe treatment or vaccine to cure populations from the coronavirus, “real-time monitoring of the epidemic is crucial to be able to react quickly” he notes, as the coronavirus will be present for “a long time.”
Finally, Kluge asserts that once the vaccine is available, the WHO will do “everything possible” to ensure this is distributed fairly and equitably” but until then he urges “all countries to take full account of their individual epidemiological situations, continually monitor this and gradually adjust the measures.”