Zimbabwe: Zvishavane Residents Live In Fear After Surge In Covid 19 Infections

One person is dying from the coronavirus every 17 seconds in

Europe, the regional head of the World Health Organisation has said, as the pandemic continues to risk overwhelming national health systems around the continent.

Dr Hans Kluge said that the 53 countries that make up the WHO’s European region had now recorded more than 15.7m Covid-19 cases – including 4m more this month alone – and nearly 355,000 deaths.

More than 80% of countries were reporting high 14-day incidence rates greater than 100 per 100,000 people, Kluge said, with nearly a third recording very high rates of greater than 700 per 100,000.

“As a result, we are seeing increasing signals related to overwhelmed health systems,” he said, nothing that intensive care wards in France have been at 95%-plus capacity for 10 days and those in Switzerland are currently at full capacity.

But Kluge said stricter measures introduced by governments were starting to show promise, with new weekly cases decreasing from over 2m the week before last to roughly 1.8m last week. “It’s a small signal, but it’s a signal nevertheless,” he said.

Recent news on the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines also represented “a great hope in the war against this virus”, Kluge said, as did recent developments in rapid diagnostic or anti-gen tests.

He said the WHO still believed strict lockdowns should be a “last-resort measure” because of their “significant collateral damage”, including mental health problems, substance abuse and domestic violence, and said that if mask use reached 95% lockdowns “should not be needed”.

Generalised lockdowns also had a negative impact when they were lifted too fast, he said, often requiring the re-imposition of strict new measures. They would be better replaced with tier systems based on local levels of community transmission.

It was particularly vital to keep schools open, Kluge said: “Children are not considered primary drivers of transmission and, as such, school closures are not considered to be an effective measure for the control of Covid-19.”

He asked countries considering closing schools to consider the adverse effects in terms of educational outcomes and mental and social well-being, and at least ensure children in vulnerable situations and with special needs received full support.

Looking ahead to the end of the year, Kluge said Christmas this year would certainly be different, “but that does not mean it cannot be merry”. He noted the success of the recent distanced and online Ramadan and Diwali and said similar solutions could and should be found for Christmas.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/nov/19/coronavirus-live-news-us-hospitals-stretched-to-limits-pfizer-seeks-vaccine-approval-in-days?page=with:block-5fb68b2f8f081d2fbd0da14b

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