WHO Europe calls for regional coherence as Covid-19 cases soar

Copenhagen, Sep 18 : As coronavirus cases were soaring in the European region, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge has called for greater “regional coherence”, respect for “scientific knowledge”, and asked authorities to embrace new disciplines in tackling “Covid-related fatigue in populations”.

Weekly new cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March, Xinhua news agency quoted Kluge as saying at a virtual press briefing here on Thursday.

So far, the overall caseload in Europe has increased to 4,893,614 with 226,524 deaths.

“Last week, the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients,” he said, adding that the rising number of new cases in September “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us”.

According to Kluge, the past two weeks have witnessed more than half of the countries in the region reporting a rise of greater than 10 per cent in new cases, with seven countries experiencing their caseloads doubling.

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“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, they also show alarming rates of transmission across the Region.”

In light of a rising “second wave”, Kluge called for “regional coherence, and an amplified collective effort by all European member states, for the sake of all European member states” as a way of dealing with the monumental impact on mental health, economies, livelihoods and society.

Kluge was also concerned that society needed to respect and keep itself updated on scientific knowledge, especially quarantine, “a cornerstone of our fight against Covid-19”.

“I encourage countries of the region to make scientific due process with their experts and explore safe reduction options. The concept of quarantine must be protected, continuously adapted, clarified, and well communicated without any ambiguity to the people.”

Moreover, Kluge expressed concerns that members were reporting coronavirus-related fatigue in their populations, effectively giving the virus a back door into infecting society.

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While acknowledging that “fatigue is natural and it needs to be understood and addressed, where it puts us at risk”, the regional director called on authorities to make proactive response and to “embrace disciplines outside of the biomedical sphere, such as the social sciences and the humanities” in attempts to counteract fatigue.

Returning to the crucial importance of “regional coherence” and a spirit of collective support, Kluge expressed the WHO’s support for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

On Wednesday, von der Leyen, in her State of the Union speech to the European Parliament, commended EU-WHO joint efforts and advocated revitalizing multi-lateralism.

“We share her vision for a European Health Union,” said Kluge.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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