Covid-19: Another storm is coming, says WHO

Nations rush to impose curbs as Omicron variant sweeps the world

By Agencies

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Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation’s European head. File photo
Hans Kluge, World Health Organisation’s European head. File photo

Published: Tue 21 Dec 2021, 11:02 PM

Countries across Europe weighed new curbs on movement on Tuesday as US President Joe Biden called on military medics to support hospitals and fight the Omicron variant that has swept the world days before the second Christmas of the pandemic.

“We can see another storm coming,” said Hans Kluge, the World Health Organisation’s European head, warning European countries to brace for a “significant surge” in Covid-19.


Germany, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and South Korea are among countries to have reimposed partial or full lockdowns or other social distancing measures in recent days.

New Zealand Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said his country, which imposed some of the world’s toughest pandemic measures, was delaying the start of a staggered reopening of its border until the end of February. Portugal is reimposing restrictions despite the country having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Germany capped private New Year’s Eve parties at 10 vaccinated or recovered guests, and announced a ban on spectators at large sporting events from December 28.

France will pass a law transforming its health pass needed to exercise some professions and to go to cinemas and bars into a “vaccination” pass in the first half of January.

Scottish sports events will become “effectively spectator-free” while in Wales all sports events must be held behind closed doors.

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