Coronavirus: Europe lockdowns avoidable, vaccines 'not a silver bullet', WHO says
"Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States," Hans Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, says.
Fresh lockdowns in Europe are avoidable, including through near-universal mask-wearing, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe office said on Thursday.
Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said that some health systems are being overwhelmed on the continent where more than 29,000 deaths were recorded in the past week alone.
"Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States. There is light at the end of the tunnel but it will be a six tough months," Kluge told a news conference, speaking from Copenhagen.
"Lockdowns are avoidable, I stand by my position that lockdowns are a last resort measure. Mask use is by no means a panacea, and needs to be done in combination with other measures. However, if mask use reached 95 per cent, lockdowns would not be needed."
Lockdowns should be lifted safely and gradually, he added, warning about the negative impact of 'easing too quickly'.
Primary schools should be kept open, Kluge said, adding that children and adolescents are not driving the spread of the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 and school closures are "not effective".
Despite encouraging news in the last week about vaccines, they are "not a silver bullet because we know the supply will be limited particularly in the beginning", he said.
WHO is in touch with the developers of Russia's Sputnik vaccine regarding clinical trial data, he said.
"Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with... READ MORE
Former fisheries minister Dilip Wedaarachch undertakes the bizarre... READ MORE
The Phase 3 results showing efficacy of the vaccine will be released... READ MORE
'It remained unclear if Actemra kept people alive or shortened how... READ MORE
President Alberto Fernandez immediately announced three days of... READ MORE
Changes were taking place, but nothing could have prepared the... READ MORE
All airline operations at Chennai airport have been suspended for 12... READ MORE
Sheikh Mohamed, Netanyahu nominated for Nobel Prize, UAE reports 1,... READ MORE