The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe has urged people to be cautious this holiday season, as the region is currently dealing with two highly transmissible coronavirus strains that have the potential to overwhelm the region’s already overburdened health systems.
“The European region was the epicentre of the pandemic even before the emergence of Omicron, with surging cases of the Delta variant,” Hans Kluge, Regional Director of WHO Europe, said in a statement.
According to WHO Europe, the threat posed by Covid-19 is as serious as ever, with the highly transmissible Delta variant dominating the region and the Omicron variant spreading rapidly with unknown consequences.
Kluge noted that experience has shown that “exercise caution” alongside the “current tools at our disposal,” such as vaccines, booster jabs, testing, masks, and distancing, is effective and sufficient to “help us manage the virus and keep people safe.”
“We have come a long way since 2020. We have seen inspiring examples of solidarity. We know what works. We know how to keep ourselves and others safe. The emergence of Omicron doesn’t change that. WHO Europe is in regular contact with experts across the region and will share further information as soon as it is available.”
Kluge took aim at the growing misinformation in the region, most recently centred on the Omicron variant. He urged everyone to “seek out reliable sources of information that provide advice based on the latest evidence and scientific consensus.”