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Friday, 05 November 2021 13:26

Europe Now Epicenter of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge in a virtual press conference from Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday (4/11) said that Europe is now the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. The continent is reported to account for 59 percent of all cases globally. According to Kluge, the speed of transmission in 53 European countries is currently very alarming. He even said that if this continues, there will probably be half a million deaths from Covid-19 in February.

The day before, WHO had reported a steady increase in the confirmed cases across Europe. Most of the case reports came from the UK, Russia, Turkey and Romania. But sharp increases also occurred in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. According to AFP, the number of new cases in Europe increases about 250,000 per day for almost six consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, the number of deaths for more than seven weeks also increases with 3,600 deaths per day.

Hans Kluge also cited that uneven vaccination rates, the loosening of public health protocols, and social activities throughout the region are the cause of the spike.According to Kluge, in Europe only 47 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated. The fact is that vaccines are most effective when used along with other precautions, such as social distancing and wearing of masks. Kluge added that through the use of masks,188,000 lives will be saved between now and February.

For the world community outside Europe, this fact is also concerning. Rich countries in the region that are able to provide sufficient vaccines without cost constraints apparently have not been able to convince all their citizens to get vaccinated. In the name of individual freedom, many European citizens refuse to wear masks and keep distance. They even held demonstrations against the rules for wearing masks. As this continues, the pandemic in the continent will be difficult to control. As Hans Kluge said, the key is vaccination, including wearing masks and social distancing. Three points seem difficult to implement in a society that is said to prioritize individual freedom. Whereas in individual freedom amid this pandemic, there is a responsibility for the safety of others, especially to prevent transmission.

What happens in Europe will certainly bring about a serious impact on other regions, considering the mobility of the world's population starts increasing in line with the decline in Covid-19 cases outside Europe.

Take for example; Indonesia experiences a significant decline in the Covid-19 cases. This country starts opening its international doors. Given the current situation in Europe, the Indonesian government should vigilantly and immediately take appropriate policies regarding the arrival of European citizens so that there will be no more spikes in the Covid-19 cases across Indonesia.

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