Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) said they are “very worried” about the spread of coronavirus within Europe as the continent battles a fresh wave of infections.
Regional director Dr Hans Kluge warned during an interview with BBC that some 500,000 more deaths could be recorded by March unless urgent action is taken.
Dr Kluge said introducing measures like mask wearing could immediately help.
The warning comes as several nations report record-high Covid-19 infection rates and introduce full and partial lockdowns.
Dr Kluge said factors like the winter season, the regional dominance of the more transmissible Delta variant and insufficient vaccine coverage were behind the spread. He called for increased vaccine uptake and the implementation of basic public health measures and new medical treatments to help fight the rise.
Dr Kluge said: “Covid-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region we know what needs to be done” in order to fight the disease.
The WHO official said mandatory vaccination measures should be seen as a “last resort” but that it would be “very timely” to have a “legal and societal debate” about the issue.
He said: “Before that there are other means like the Covid pass is not a restriction of liberty, rather it is a tool to keep our individual freedom.”
On Friday, Austria became the first European nation to announce that Covid-19 vaccination would become a legal requirement. The new rules are set to come into force in February.
The announcement alongside that of a new national lockdown was made in response to record case numbers and low vaccination levels.
Many other countries in Europe are also imposing new measures as cases rise.
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