The European Chapter of the World Health Organization Thursday held a virtual press briefing with Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe along with some technical experts. In the briefing, the agency said the recent COVID-19 transmission rates were "alarming" across Europe and recommended that countries avoid shortening quarantine periods.
"The September case numbers should serve as a wake-up call for all of us," Kluge said. "Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region."
Kluge added that quarantine measures did work, resulting in an all-time low number of cases in June 2020, but a recent relaxation of the measures has resulted in a rise of cases once more. The biggest percentage of increases have been recorded in the 25 to 49 year-old population segment.
"This pandemic has taken so much from us," added Kluge. The expert revealed that in Europe alone, over 4 million people have been infected by COVID-19 and over 200,000 deaths have been reported.
But these numbers only scratch the surface. Europe has paid a heavy price in terms of its citizens' mental health and livelihoods. Kluge called for all European countries to act together to avoid ending up in these dire circumstances again. He praised prompt and resolute actions.
"Where the pandemic goes from here is in our hands," said Kluge. "We have fought it off before and can fight it off again." Kluge also said that we need to utilize the knowledge we've acquired so far to protect our vulnerable populations.