The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that Europe saw almost 7 million new Omicron cases in the last week alone, almost more than twice the cases than two weeks ago. Currently, 26 countries in the European region have reported more than 1% of their population being infected with COVID each week, and it can sweep through 53 countries in the region within a very short time.

The WHO director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, warned countries now have a “closing window of opportunity” to contain the spread of Omicron before it overwhelms their health systems. He said, “As of 10 January, 26 countries report that over one percent of their population is catching COVID-19 each week.” Citing, projected estimates from the Institute of Health Metrics at the University of Washington, Dr. Kluge stated how half of Western Europe’s population can be Omicron infected within the next two months.

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Omicron “represents a new west to east tidal wave” spreading throughout European countries according to Dr. Kluge, threatening to get to countries with vulnerable populations that are still largely unvaccinated against the virus. The Geneva headquarters of WHO once warned and requested rich countries to donate the boosters to countries with populations that are not yet immunized, before they start providing booster shots to their population.

The continued mutation of COVID, first into Delta and then Omicron is due to the replication of the virus in different bodies throughout the world. Unvaccinated people around the world mostly belong to developing or under-developed countries who are restricted in their access to vaccines and thus are unable to speed up their immunization process.

Dr. Kluge confirmed how almost 50 countries in the region have reported Omicron as it is “quickly becoming the dominant virus in western Europe and is now spreading in the Balkans.” His brief included how the health officials are gravely concerned that as the new variant moves and spreads over to the eastern region of the continent, it will have a far adverse impact on countries with lower vaccination rates.

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