The pandemic is not over, but we are in the unique position of being able to take control, and we should not waste this opportunitypleaded Hans Kluge, regional director of the WHO during an online press conference.
will inevitably appearcorn
it is possible to answer it without reusing
the kind of disruptive measures we needed beforehe added.
In the region ofWHO Europe, which has 53 countries, some of which are located in Central Asia, contaminations have exploded with the Omicron variant (12 million last week, the highest level in two years of the pandemic), but the health situation is considered less alarming. Highly contagious, Omicron leads to less severe forms of the disease.
The period is distinguished by the combination of vaccine protection, the end of winter and a less dangerous variant.
Spinning the metaphor, Mr. Kluge summed up:
this period of higher protection should be seen as a “ceasefire” that could bring us lasting peace.
The truce according to him will only last, however, if vaccination campaigns and monitoring of new variants are continued, he warned, while several European countries are considerably softening their health restrictions.
Lifting of restrictions in some countries
In Sweden, the government announced on Thursday the lifting of almost all restrictions from next Wednesday, such as the closing of bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. or the mask in transport, even in the event of a crowd.
” The pandemic is not over, but we are entering a whole new phase […] knowledge has improved […] several studies show that Omicron leads to less severe disease. »
In Denmark, the first country in the European Union to return to
life before lifting all restrictions, the number of new cases is currently around 40,000 to 50,000 per day, or almost 1% of the population daily, and authorities estimate that a third of the adult population contracted COVID during the last three months.
We see the light on the horizonit is also estimated in Switzerland where all health restrictions could disappear by mid-February.
Relief in sight also in the Czech Republic or Israel, one of the first countries to have introduced the health passport and which could abandon this famous
green passport in Hebrew, in cafes, bars, gyms or hotels.
In Italy, where more than 88% of over-12s are vaccinated, the Council of Ministers has decided to end distance learning for vaccinated or recovered students, and reopened the country to visitors with a negative test.
Tourism, a sector of which whole sections are damaged or at a standstill, also begins to hope. US airlines and tour operators on Wednesday called on the government to lift the requirement for vaccinated passengers to produce a negative COVID test to come to the United States.
Meanwhile, in China, where the 2022 Winter Olympics kick off on Friday, athletes are complaining of living
hell because of the drastic health protocol, like the Belgian sportswoman Kim Meylemans who must participate in the women’s skeleton event and in tears on Instagram.
Another country with draconian anti-COVID regulations, New Zealand, which has recorded 53 deaths for 5 million inhabitants, will not fully reopen its borders until October.
The relentless quarantine system that has prevented New Zealanders from returning to see dying relatives or returning in time to give birth in their country will, however, be gradually eased from February 27.