Coronavirus: WHO warns Covid ‘has not gone away’ with 1,000 dying each week in Europe

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The World Health Organization’s European office on Tuesday warned the risk of Covid-19 has not gone away, saying it was still responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths a week in the region.

The global health body on May 5 announced that the Covid-19 pandemic was no longer deemed a “global health emergency.”

“Whilst it may not be a global public health emergency, however, Covid-19 has not gone away,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters.

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World Health Organization announces Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency

World Health Organization announces Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency

The WHO counts a total of 53 countries in its European Region, including not only the EU but also countries to the east of it, as far as Central Asia.

“Close to 1,000 new Covid-19 deaths continue to occur across the region every week, and this is an underestimate due to a drop in countries regularly reporting Covid-19 deaths to WHO,” Kluge added, and urged authorities to ensure vaccination coverage of at least 70 per cent for vulnerable groups.

Kluge also said estimates showed that one in 30, or some 36 million people, in the region had experienced so called “long Covid” in the last three years, which “remains a complex condition we still know very little about.”

“Unless we develop comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for long Covid, we will never truly recover from the pandemic,” Kluge said, encouraging more research in the area which he called an under-recognised condition.

Long Covid is the term used to describe symptoms that persist beyond the acute phase of the disease, which lasts four weeks, or which then reappear.

The health body also urged vigilance in the face of a resurgence of mpox, having recorded 22 new cases across the region in May, and the health impact of heatwaves.

Additional reporting by dpa

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