WHO Europe Detects ‘British’ Strain Of Coronavirus In 22 Countries
A new variant of the coronavirus, first detected in the UK and spreading with a higher spread rate, has been detected in 22 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region.
This was announced by Hans Kluge, Director of WHO Europe. In total, the bureau’s area of responsibility includes 53 countries, including former Soviet republics in Central Asia as well as Turkey and Israel.
Mr. Kluge said that health services would face an extra burden without intensified monitoring of the spread of the new coronavirus strain. « The situation is creating anxiety, so for the short term we should do more than has already been done, » he said during a WHO briefing.
He suggested following more closely the measures « we are all already familiar with », such as wearing masks, keeping a social distance and avoiding gatherings. He said health mobilisation and social support measures would help « flatten the steep vertical » in some countries’ disease charts.
The head of the WHO Europe office did not specify in which countries of the region the new strain of coronavirus had been detected.
On 7 January, the chairman of the board of Latvian Ogre District Hospital said that the new variant had been detected in staff and patients at the institution. « Some healthcare workers and patients at the Hospital have already been infected with the new strain of the virus. This is even more dangerous and contagious than the one previously detected, » the hospital reported on its Facebook account.