The World Health Organization says the situation in Europe is grave because of the new strain

DW 01-08

The World Health Organization (WHO) is on alert because the spread of the highly infectious strain is accelerating and the number of new infections is increasing.

European countries must do more in the fight against the disease, WHO regional director Hans Kluge said in Copenhagen on Thursday. In the UK, where the new coronet is particularly rampant, beds for new coronet patients are running out.

Krueger said Europe was in a "critical state," with the number of new infections rising and being hit by a strain that first appeared in Britain. "That means we have to do more in the short term than we have done so far," he said.

The European regional director specifically called for a re-" reinforcement "of well-known measures such as wearing masks and exposure restrictions. Only in this way, he says, can the number of new infections be reduced, the burden on health systems reduced and lives saved. He is confident that if all parties work together, along with increased testing, adherence to quarantine rules and vaccination, "it will work."

On January 7th British hospitals raised the alarm. Chris Hopson, chief executive of the country's health agency, the National Health Service (NHS), admitted there were almost no empty beds in the country's hospitals. "It's going to get more difficult very quickly," he said. More than 30,000 new patients are now being hospitalized in the country, exceeding the number sent to hospitals during the first wave of new infections last year.

The new crown variant was first discovered in south-east England and soon spread across the country, but in this time has also spread overseas. To date, 22 countries have reported finding this variant. This variant does not appear to cause more severe illness, but it is more contagious.

Given the seriousness of the situation, the British government has taken the lead in Europe in launching mass vaccination. So far, there is no indication that the universal vaccine will not work against the new crown variant.

On Wednesday, the European Commission approved the U.S. Moderna vaccine for use in Europe as the second new crown vaccine. There were production shortfalls and logistical problems during the initial phase of the Pfizer/New Biotech vaccine campaign, which had previously been approved.

In recent days, the commission has also been accused of placing too few orders with the two producers. The two manufacturers' vaccines are the only ones so far approved for market in Europe. The European Commission's health commissioner, Giulia Kides, dismissed the accusation. "No one knew in June of last year, and in negotiations with manufacturers until November, which vaccine might be the most effective," he said.

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