Progress in opposition to the coronavirus pandemic stays “fragile” and worldwide journey needs to be averted, a World Health Organization director warned Thursday, whereas stressing that authorised vaccines work in opposition to variants of concern.
“Right now, in the face of a continued threat and new uncertainty, we need to continue to exercise caution, and rethink or avoid international travel,” WHO’s European director Hans Kluge stated, earlier than including that “pockets of increasing transmission” on the continent may shortly unfold.
The India-dominant variant, which is likely to be extra transmissible, has now been recognized in no less than 26 of the 53 nations within the WHO Europe area, Kluge stated throughout his weekly press convention.
But he added that vaccines authorised by the WHO are efficient in opposition to the brand new pressure.
“All Covid-19 virus variants that have emerged so far do respond to the available, approved vaccines,” Kluge stated.
In February, South Africa suspended its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a examine discovered it is likely to be ineffective in opposition to gentle and reasonable types of the South African variant, however “although confirmation in larger studies is needed”, the AstraZeneca jab will nonetheless cut back hospitalisations and deaths from the South African variant, the WHO instructed AFP by e-mail.
In the WHO’s European area, which covers elements of central Asia, the weekly variety of new circumstances fell by 60 p.c in a month, from 1.7 million in mid-April to 685,000 final week.
Although the India-dominant pressure continues to be being studied, “it is able to spread rapidly” and change the dominant lineage in Europe, Kluge stated.
Variants are “not in themselves dangerous, but they can be if they change the behaviour of the virus,” the WHO stated in a word printed on its web site, including that additional lockdowns may turn out to be essential to cease a brand new pressure spreading uncontrolled.
So far solely 23 p.c of individuals within the area have obtained a vaccine dose, with simply 11 p.c having had two doses, Kluge stated, as he warned residents to proceed to train warning.
“Vaccines may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot be blinded by that light,” he stated.
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