The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that a new wave of infections from the Omicron variant of coronavirus is moving eastward, urging authorities to improve vaccination and other measures.
According to reports, cases of Covid have more than doubled in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine in the last two weeks, according to WHO’s Europe regional director Hans Kluge.
The remarks come at a time when several European countries, including Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, have lifted Covid restrictions, and the Czech Republic and Poland have hinted that Covid-19 restrictions may be eased next month if daily infection rates continue to fall.
In the last week, the WHO European region has recorded over 165 million Covid cases and 25,000 deaths.
The World Health Organization emphasised the continued importance of measures such as rapid testing and masking, as well as avoiding crowded areas and improving ventilation.
Kluge emphasised that, in the face of a “Omicron tidal wave” and “with Delta still circulating widely in the east,” now was “not the time to lift measures that we know work in reducing Covid-19 spread.”
He also urged governments to boost vaccination rates.
According to him, less than 40% of those over the age of 60 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have completed their Covid-19 vaccine series.