COVID in Europe: World Health Organization delivers update on Omicron across continent

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The head of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European Office will on Tuesday deliver an update on COVID-19 as the region remains at the epicentre of the pandemic.

Dr Hans Kluge will speak at 11am CET. You can watch his comments live in the video player, above.

WHO’s Europe region — which also covers parts of central Asia — has been registering record numbers of new infections with more than one million cases confirmed on seven of the past 12 days. The pandemic high of 1.4 million daily infections was observed on 6 January.

There have been 20,400 deaths over the past seven days from COVID-19, a slight decline on the previous week when more than 22,600 people lost their lives.

The number of deaths remains below the figures seen during winter 2021 when the Delta variant was spreading fast across Europe

The latest wave of cases has largely been blamed on the Omicron variant, which evidence suggests is much more transmittable than the original strain of the virus or the Delta variant. It is also more resistant to treatment with fully vaccinated people more likely to get infected or reinfected.

Kluge’s address comes just a few days after the WHO chief, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus Adhanom, warned against describing Omicron has “mild”, stressing that “just like previous variants; Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people.”

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