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WHO warns of COVID-19 resurgence in Europe this autumn as nations ease restrictions further

DUBLIN: The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of a COVID-19 resurgence at a time when most EU countries, including Ireland, are easing restrictions as case numbers decrease.

The number of COVID-19 cases, patients treated in hospitals and ICU, and deaths associated to the virus are all decreasing across Europe. Only 59 COVID patients are currently being treated in Irish hospitals, the lowest number in almost nine months.

Many European countries have begun to believe that they have almost defeated the pandemic, and they are gradually lifting restrictions, including international travel.

However, the WHO has issued a warning that there is still a high risk of a COVID-19 resurgence this autumn, and that people should exercise caution this summer.

A WHO spokesperson, Dr. Margaret Harris, said that people must continue the same public health measures as before, even as more people are vaccinated.

“As the measures come down, and people have earned the right to open up societies and find a way to live carefully, keep the three Cs in mind – the avoiding of crowding, the avoiding of being in closed, confined spaces, and avoiding close contact while being in those enclosed spaces,” Dr. Harris advised.

When compared to other coronavirus strains, the delta variant is more transmissible. However, Harris reminded the public that the same public health measures that everyone used to prevent other variants would also protect them from this variant.

“This summer, act as if the transmission is definitely there because the threat of that still remains. The difference [this year] is that we’ve got the vaccination but the vaccination doesn’t end the pandemic, the pandemic will end when we have eliminated the circulation of the virus from our communities,” she said.

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