By Tara Rippin • 29 April 2021 • 17:48
Devastating situation in India could occur anywhere, warns WHO.
ADDRESSING the international community, and in particular Europe, World Health Organisation Europe Director, Hans Kluge has today warned the Covid virus still has the potential to cause “devastating effects”.
“The situation in India can occur anywhere,” he said, adding: “The perfect storm can be created anywhere where vaccine coverage is low and measures are relaxed.”
The eyes of the world are currently on India which is experiencing a health situation “out of control”, breaking global pandemic records on an almost daily basis.
The international community is mobilising to help during the crisis which has left India lacking ventilators, oxygen, drugs, and hospital beds.
“Until we are all protected, nobody is protected,” warn humantitarian organisations.
While the health crisis in the Asian country may be due to the so-called ‘Indian variant of coronavirus’, WHO has stressed there are other factors to be considered, such as a breach of health restrictions.
In a virtual press conference today, Thursday, April 29, Kluge stressed: “(The pandemic) continues to be a huge challenge for the health systems of any country in which personal protection measures are relaxed, there are mass gatherings, more contagious variants circulate and where vaccination coverage is still low.
“Individual and collective public health and social measures remain determining factors in curbing the pandemic, at a time when the number of new cases in Europe has fallen significantly for the first time in two months,” he added.
In tweets, he later “expressed heartfelt condolences to every family affected by this pandemic”, particularly, at the moment, “the people of India and the battle against a horrific surge of Covid”.
He called upon the countries of the European Region “to do everything they can, however they can, to support India”, and thanked those who have already provided help.
Spain is preparing to send seven tonnes of medical aid to India as the Covid cases continue to soar setting daily global records for new infections, and exceeding a record 200,000 deaths.
“Here in the European Region, it is 462 days since the first Covid-19 cases were reported. Based on numbers of confirmed cases, 5.5 per cent of the entire European population have now had Covid-19, while 7 per cent have completed a full vaccination series,” said Kluge.
Some 215 million doses have been administered and around 16 per cent of the population has received one jab, rising to 81 per cent in the case of health workers.
WHO has called for an acceleration of the vaccination campaign to combat Covid.
“Where vaccination rates in high-risk groups are highest, admissions to hospitals are decreasing and death rates are falling. Vaccines are saving lives, and they will change the course of this pandemic and eventually help end it,” stressed Kluge.
Health officials in the UK yesterday confirmed that there have been three reported cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus in Leicester, with testing being carried out at one of the schools in the city.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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