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COVID in Europe: China’s surge not a cause for concern ‘at this time’, says WHO, as XBB.1.5 virus spreads

HealthHealth CareCOVID in Europe: China's surge not a cause for concern 'at this time', says WHO, as XBB.1.5 virus spreads
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Doctor. Hans KlugeThe head of the World Health Organization for Europe explained that this is because two variants running in China are already present in European countries, according to data provided by the Chinese authorities.

“We share the current view of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that the ongoing surge in China is not expected to have a significant impact.” COVID-19 Epidemiological situation in the WHO European Region at this time.

Ban ‘not unreasonable’

WHO The senior official acknowledged that China had shared virus sequencing information, but appealed for more “detailed and regular information”, particularly related to local epidemiology and variants “to better assess the evolving situation”.

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Dr. Kluge also said that the travel ban by European countries on those coming from China “Not unreasonable…while we await more detailed information which is shared through a publicly available database”.

But he said it was important for precautionary travel measures being introduced by European countries.be grounded in science, be proportionate and non-discriminatory,

Visa stopped

The message comes as Chinese embassies on Tuesday suspended issuing new visas for South Korean and Japanese visitors. The announcement includes tourist, business and some other visa categories.

The move appears to be in response to COVID-19 testing requirements those countries recently imposed on travelers from China.

A notice posted in Seoul reportedly states that the ban will remain in place until South Korea lifts its “discriminatory entry measures” against China.

At least ten countries in Europe, North America and Asia have announced new virus testing requirements for travelers from China, as officials expressed concern about a lack of sufficient information about the fast-spreading virus outbreak in China. is of.

UNICEF/Bruno Amselem/Divergence

A three-year-old boy at home during the COVID-19 lockdown in Lyon, France.

warning against complacency

In two further messages to the WHO European Region, Dr Kluge warned countries against greatly reducing their surveillance capacity for COVID-19.

In the first five weeks of 2022, variant information on 1.2 million cases was submitted to WHO and ECDC as part of weekly surveillance data.

However, it came down to around 90,000 cases in the last 5 weeks of the year.

Dr Kluge stressed that countries must build on the lessons learned over the past three years and be able to anticipate, detect and respond in time to SARS-CoV-2 and any emerging health threat.

XBB.1.5 is spreading

He commended European countries, including Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, that have maintained robust genomic surveillance and pointed out that their recent data has begun to indicate an increasing presence of new XBB.1.5 recombinant virus, derived from the Omicron variant, is already spreading rapidly across the United States,

The new strain is being picked up in “small, but growing numbers”.and we are working to assess its potential impact,” he said. “With many countries grappling with overburdened health systems, shortages of essential medicines and an exhausted health workforce – We cannot take more pressure on our health systems,

In conclusion, Dr. Kluge urged countries in Europe and Central Asia to step up efforts to develop effective strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 and avoid complacency.

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