Europe facing ‘Covid catastrophe’ WHO issues dire warning

TalkRADIO: NHS worker shares his reaction to new COVID jab rules

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It comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Europe has risen for nearly six consecutive weeks, with daily deaths hiking for more than seven weeks.

Official country data compiled by AFP shows 250,000 new confirmed cases and 3,600 per day in the outlined period.

Hans Kluge, WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, told a press conference on Thursday: “The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European region is of grave concern.”

The UK, though having left the EU, is part of the European region.

Mr Kluge blamed the soaring cases on “insufficient vaccination coverage” and “the relaxation of public health and social measures”.

Just 47 percent of eligible citizens in the European region have been fully jabbed, he said, with vaccination rates lowest in the Baltics, Balkans, and Central and Eastern Europe.

He said it is time to “change our tactics”.

Instead of “reacting to surges of COVID-19” he urged governments to work on “preventing them from happening in the first place”.

Describing lockdowns as “an absolute last resort”, he suggested “preventive measures” were the key to not having to go into further ones this winter.

They do “not deprive people of the freedom,” he added. “They ensure it.”

Mr Kluge warned that according to “one reliable projection”, as things stand now, we could be in a dire position in early 2022.

“If we stay on this trajectory, we could see another half a million COVID-19 deaths in Europe and Central Asia by the 1st of February next year.”

The UK medicines regulator has today granted approval for the first pill designed to treat symptomatic Covid.

The tablet, molnupiravir, will be given twice a day to vulnerable patients recently diagnosed with coronavirus.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid, calling the treatment a “gamechanger”, said: “Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for Covid.”

The UK has purchased almost half a million courses of the antiviral pill, which was originally developed to treat flu.

Merck, who co-developed molnupiravir with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, cautioned the drug only provided a 50 percent reduction in hospitalisation and death during the trials, and stressed that patients had to take it early enough for it to be effective.

Chief executive Robert Davis said the authorisation was a major achievement for the company: “In pursuit of Merck’s unwavering mission to save and improve lives, we will continue to move with both rigour and urgency to bring molnupiravir to patients around the world as quickly as possible.”

UK health authorities emphasised the pill is not a substitute for vaccination.

45,752,487 citizens have received two doses of the vaccine and 8,652,842 have also had their booster jab.

Yet, according to the government’s official daily figures, 41,299 coronavirus cases and 217 deaths were reported in the UK on Wednesday.

It compares with 43,941 cases and 207 deaths on the same day last week.

The latest count shows 9,517 people are in hospital with coronavirus, compares with 6,468 a month ago.

While some leaders have called for some Covid restrictions to be reintroduced, i.e., to move from plan A to plan B, Downing Street maintains the focus is “on ensuring we get boosters out to those who are eligible”.

Total deaths within four weeks of a positive test stand at 141,181 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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