WHO says 'not a time to relax' on COVID-19 and influenza
Published: Oct 24, 2022 10:48 PM
As winter approaches, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday stressed the importance of staying vigilant as cases of COVID-19 and influenza rise in Europe, encouraging more people to get vaccinated.

"This is not a time to relax," WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge told a press conference.

The 53 countries that make up the WHO Europe region, which includes Russia and countries in Central Asia, were once again at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for nearly 60 percent of new COVID-19 cases worldwide, Kluge said. 

At the same time, cases of the seasonal influenza are peaking. With this new wave of ­COVID-19, deaths and admissions to intensive care are not increasing to the same degree as earlier waves, and the WHO stressed the link to vaccination campaigns.

On Monday, the WHO also marked World Polio day, a disease which affects mostly the very young and causes paralysis, and has been virtually wiped out in the western world.

A mutated variant of the polio virus derived from oral polio vaccines has however recently been detected in the UK, Ukraine, Israel and the US. 

Less virulent than the natural virus, this variant can nevertheless cause severe symptoms, such as limb paralysis in unvaccinated patients.