According to him, currently 50 out of 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia have reported cases of omicron. Kluge added that this variant of COVID-19 is rapidly becoming dominant in Western Europe and is now spreading to the Balkans.
“The Institute for Health Indicators and Assessment predicts that more than 50% of the population of the (European) region will be infected with omicron in the next 6-8 weeks,” Kluge said at a press conference on Tuesday.
According to him, the data collected in recent weeks confirm that omicron has a high transmissibility, since the mutations it has allow it to be more easily fixed on human cells, and it can infect even those who have been ill or vaccinated.
At the same time, Kluge stressed that currently approved coronavirus vaccines continue to provide good protection against severe disease or death.
The head of the WHO European Bureau also said that in the first week of 2022, more than 7 million new cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in the region, indicating a twofold increase in two weeks. According to Kluge, as of January 10, 26 countries report that more than 1% of their population falls ill with COVID-19 every week.