Head of the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe, Hans Kluge, during the WHO's weekly press conference on April 30, 2020.
Copenhagen, Denmark - Head of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Hans Kluge, warns that 'this virus is unforgiving. We must remain vigilant, persevere and be patient'.
About half Europe's countries have now eased restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Forty-four states in the European region had imposed partial or complete restrictions of movement in the fight against the pandemic, the head of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Hans Kluge, said in Copenhagen on Thursday during his weekly press conference.
Of those, 21 have begun easing their restrictions, to varying extents, German News Agency, DPA, quoted Kluge as saying. A further 11 countries are planning to do so in the coming days.
However, Kluge warned against taking a step back in the fight against Covid-19, stressing: "I said before, this virus is unforgiving. We must remain vigilant, persevere and be patient."
He added that countries must be ready to tighten restrictions again if necessary, as the coronavirus situation in Europe remains serious. While in Western Europe the curve is flattening, it is still rising in eastern European countries such as Belarus and Russia, where the number of cases is increasing, according to Kluge.
During the press conference, the WHO office also warned that much work is still needed before the discovery of an effective vaccine against the virus.
Vaccines that are already in trials might be the ones attracting most attention and most optimism, WHO vaccine expert Adam Finn said.
However, they could turn out to be unsafe or ineffective, he warned. They could also turn out to be difficult to produce or to distribute internationally, DPA quoted Finn as saying.