For countries not yet hit by the Omicron surge, the World Health Organization has said there is a closing window of opportunity to act now and plan better.
The UN health department gave this directive while projecting that half of Europe will be hit by the Omicron Covid-19 variant within the next six to eight weeks.
WHO regional director for Europe Dr Hans Kluge said a “west-to-east tidal wave” of the the COVID-19 variant was sweeping across the region, following the seven million new cases reported across Europe in the first week of 2022.
“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50% of the population in the region will be infected with omicron in the next six to eight weeks,”
He urged nations to strengthen mask rules, warning that the window to act was closing.
“The rapid increase in cases will lead to an increase in hospitalizations, may pose overwhelming demands on health care systems and lead to significant morbidity, particularly in vulnerable populations,” the organization said.