WHERE: The threat of the Omicron variant remains high in Eastern Europe
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A new wave of coronavirus Omicron strains is on its way to Eastern Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today, calling on authorities to improve vaccination campaigns and other measures.
The number of cases in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine has more than doubled in the past two weeks, according to a statement from Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
His remarks come at a time when many European countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland, have hinted that they will ease restrictions on the pandemic next month if the daily number of cases continues to decline.
The WHO, however, stressed the continuing need for measures such as rapid tests and the use of a mask, saying more than 165 million cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in the WHO-covered region of Europe, with 25,000 deaths reported last week.
“Faced with the Omicron wave and the Delta still circulating widely in the east, this worrying situation is not the right time to take the measures we know work to reduce the spread of the quint,” Kluge said.
He called on governments to investigate the reasons for the low vaccination rates in the area.
Less than 40 percent of citizens over the age of 60 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan have completed their coronavirus vaccination, Kluge said.