WHO warns European states over Omicron surge

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On Tuesday, the World Health Organization urged officials to improve vaccinations and other measures, saying a new wave of infections from the Omicron version of the coronavirus is heading east of Europe.

In the past two weeks, cases of COVID-19 have more than doubled in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge emphasizes in a statement.

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The comments come when various European countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland, have hinted at easing COVID-19 restrictions next month if daily infection numbers keep falling.

The WHO, however, stressed the continued need for measures such as rapid testing and masking, adding that the WHO European region has so far recorded more than 165 million COVID-19 cases, including the last one week. There have been 25,000 deaths in the past week.

Omicron faced a tidal wave, and with the delta still sweeping east, this worrying situation is not the moment to lift the measures we know work to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Kluge.

He also called on governments to investigate local causes of low vaccination rates. He said that less than 40% of people over 60 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan had completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

Anyone travelling to Europe should expect restrictions. Due to the Omicron coronavirus variant, many states have tightened their covid guidelines, but some have eased them.

Across Europe, several countries have tightened their entry rules due to a surge in Omicron coronavirus variant infection numbers, while others have decided to relax them. The situation in each nation can change daily, which means that tourists, tour operators, hotels and restaurants must remain highly resilient.

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