- India is battling an unprecedented COVID-19 surge that’s overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums.
- The WHO’s Europe head warned that this crisis could “happen anywhere.”
- Hans Kluge said easing restrictions on large gatherings could create a “perfect storm.”
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The World Health Organization’s Europe leader warned that a coronavirus crisis similar to what is happening in India could “happen anywhere” — especially in countries that are now easing restrictions.
Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said: “It’s very important to realize that the situation in India can happen anywhere. This is still a huge challenge in the countries.”
India is dealing with a devastating surge of the virus that is overwhelming hospitals, crematoriums, and morgues, leaving people dying without proper help as hospitals don’t have enough space or oxygen to treat them.
The country has reported more than 300,000 new cases a day for more than a week.
The surge is blamed on India’s lifting coronavirus restrictions, as well as a new variant of the virus that may be more contagious, though that has not yet been proven.
Kluge said that countries should not ease measures that restrict large gatherings, especially countries that don’t have high-enough vaccination rates or that have more contagious variants.
“When personal protective measures are being relaxed, when there are mass gatherings, when there are more contagious variants, and the vaccination coverage is still low, this can create a perfect storm in any country.”
His comments come as more and more European countries gradually lift their coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. The European Union plans to allow vaccinated Americans to visit this summer.
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