Against the variants of coronavirus, the European health agency calls for new constraints – 15/02/2021 – World

Containment, curfews and other measures to reduce contagion must be maintained or stepped up in Europe to prevent “a significant increase” in Covid-19-related cases and deaths in the months to come, the European Center said on Monday prevention (15). Control (ECDC).

However, schools should only be closed as a last resort, the European Union body recommended.

“Countries should not make the same mistake they made last year, when they brought the coronavirus under control and let it escape,” WHO’s executive director said on Monday in another interview ( World Health Organization), Michael Ryan.

In the European case, the epidemiological situation remains “very worrying, with rates of hospitalizations and intensive care at very high levels”, according to the ECDC. The body also considers as high the probability that more contagious variants, such as B.117 – the most widespread on the continent, discovered for the first time in the United Kingdom -, B.1.351 (South Africa) and P. 1 (Brazil), increase their presence on the continent.

In a document that updates the Covid-19 pandemic risk assessment, ECDC says it is not yet clear to what extent variants may increase disease severity and reduce vaccine effectiveness , and called on countries to increase their sequencing capacity. identify them.

The risk was considered high to very high for the general population and very high for vulnerable people, who should have their vaccination sped up, according to the ECDC.

The agency also advocated the issuance of vaccination certificates for medical use, but said they should not be used as a “passport”: “There is not enough evidence on the effectiveness of vaccination for reduce transmission “.

So-called pandemic fatigue – the lack of motivation to follow recommended protective measures – appears to be growing in Europe, the ECDC said, “and this needs to be addressed urgently to avoid further waves of infection.”

The European body, however, reiterated the recommendation to close schools only as a last resort and, if necessary, to suspend classes from older classes to younger classes. “Before closing schools, countries should carefully consider other non-pharmaceutical interventions in place, while strengthening measures in schools to reduce the risk of Sars-Cov-2 transmission.”

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