WHO: Europe Headed For A Pandemic ‘Ceasefire’

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FILE PHOTO: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives news conference in Geneva

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director for Europe predicted the continent would see a “long period of tranquillity” after a tumultuous two years facing the COVID-19 pandemic, BBC News reported.

“This period of higher protection should be seen as a ‘ceasefire’ that could bring us enduring peace,” Dr. Hans Kluge said, BBC News reported. He cited the high vaccination rates, the end of winter and the less severe nature of the Omicron coronavirus variant as reasons to be optimistic.

Europe detected some 12 million new virus cases across the continent in the final week of January, the highest on record, but officials have not seen a significant spike in deaths, Kluge told reporters, BBC News reported. European countries have been rescinding pandemic rules, with Denmark becoming the first member of the European Union to get rid of all domestic restrictions on Tuesday.

“The pandemic is not over, but we are entering a whole new phase,” Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Thursday as the country announced it would be relaxing almost all COVID-19 restrictions starting Feb. 9, BBC News reported. Officials said they would remain “vigilant” against the virus.

Kluge encouraged European nations to continue with their vaccination campaigns despite the positive outlook, but said he believed the continent would be in a “better position… even with a more virulent variant” than Omicron, BBC News reported.

“I believe that it is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without re-installing the kind of disruptive measures we needed before,” Kluge said, BBC News reported. He urged individuals to continue to act responsibly and protect those who are more at risk from the virus.

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