GENEVA: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief for Europe said on Thursday the continent now accounts for 28 percent of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases worldwide with signs of overwhelmed health systems, noting that if facemasks’ use reached 95 percent rather than the current 60 percent, lockdowns would not be needed.
In the Philippines, mask usage is mandatory for people going outdoors and to public places.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said that intensive care units (ICUs) are currently at 95-percent capacity in France and full capacity in Switzerland, noting that current vaccine developments offer the world some hope.
“While vaccines won’t stop Covid-19 entirely and don’t answer all our questions, they do represent a great hope in the war against this virus,” Kluge said at a virtual news conference.
“In the last few days, we have received good news with two particularly promising vaccines. However, this promise will never be realized unless we ensure all countries have access to the vaccine market that is delivered equally, that it is effectively deployed, and countries address pockets of vaccine hesitancy,” said Kluge.
About the Russian-developed vaccine called Sputnik that is being sent to other countries, including Hungary, Kluge said he visited Russia recently and met the prime minister and the health minister.
Ultimately, the country’s vaccine and drug regulator will have to approve the authorization of a vaccine for the country, and “this is in process for the time being.” He added: “And of course, there is no vaccine, which can bypass the essential safety and effectiveness criteria.” SOVEREIGNPH WITH ANADOLU