Europe is once again seeing “alarming transmission rates” for coronavirus – a “wake-up call” to avoid quarantine “fatigue”, the region’s World Health Organization director warned on Thursday.
“We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” warned Hans Kluge, the UN Directorate for Public Health’s Regional Director for Europe.
“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” he revealed, noting that last week’s numbers “exceeded 300,000 patients”, with seven countries experiencing cases doubled in the previous two weeks.
“While these figures reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming transmission rates across the region,”
The rise is a special blow because the continent previously seemed to contain the infection with “strict lockdown measures,” Kluge said.
“Our efforts, our victims paid off,” he said, heralding the “lowest time” of infections in June.
“However, the case number in September should serve as a wake-up call for all of us,” he said.
Kluge noted the “fatigue” over quarantines, with France last week cutting the required quarantine period for people exposed to a potential COVID-19 case from 14 days to seven.
Kluge insisted that 14 days is a “conservative estimate of the infectious period”, and “even a minor reduction” could have a significant effect on virus spread.
“The concept of quarantine must be protected, continuously adapted, clarified and communicated well without ambiguity,” he insisted.
“Where the pandemic goes from here is in our hands. We have fought it back before and we can fight it again, ”he said.