The director of WHO Europe estimated on January 23 that the Omicron variant, which could infect 60% of Europeans by March, had started a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region and could bring it closer to its outcome.
“It is plausible that the region is approaching an end to the pandemic,” Hans Kluge told AFP, calling however for caution because of the versatility of the virus.
“Once the Omicron wave subsides, there will be for a few weeks and a few months overall immunity, either because of the vaccine or because people will be immune because of the infection and also a drop because of seasonality. “, he estimated.
However, we are not in “an endemic era”, underlined the UN official. “Endemic means […] that we can predict what will happen, this virus has surprised more than once. We must therefore be very careful,” insisted Hans Kluge.
In the region for which it is responsible, which has 53 countries, some of which are located in Central Asia, Omicron accounted for 15% of new Covid cases as of January 18, compared to 6.3% the previous week, according to WHO data. .
In the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), this variant appeared at the end of November, more contagious but less dangerous than the Delta, is now dominant according to the European health agency.
With the explosion of contamination, it is now a question of “minimizing disruption and protecting vulnerable people” and no longer focusing only on reducing transmission.