Madrid Desk, Feb 1 (EFE).- The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned an increase in deaths due to Covid-19 was being reported across all regions in the world and that it was too soon to call a victory over the pandemic.
“We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths in most regions of the world,” WHO Director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a news briefing in Geneva.
Since Omicron was detected ten weeks ago, almost 90 million cases have been reported to the WHO, a figure higher than what has been reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines and because of Omicron’s higher transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible and no longer necessary,” he said.
“Nothing could be further from the truth, more transmission means more deaths.”
The WHO chief said that four sub-variants were currently being investigated and that the virus was “dangerous”, urging countries to use “all tools in the toolkit, not vaccines alone”.
“It’s premature for any country to either surrender or to declare victory.”
Despite the WHO warnings and rising cases numbers, Denmark on Tuesday became the first country in Europe to lift all coronavirus restrictions.
Face masks are no longer required, nightlife venues have reopened and the tracing app for Covid-19 contacts is no longer required to access venues.
Though infections remain high, with a 14-day incidence rate of 5,000 per 100,000, authorities said the virus no longer posed a “critical risk”.
Despite the high incidence rate, Denmark has the lowest coronavirus mortality rate, with 62.59 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure three times less than countries like Spain, Portugal and France.
A Covid-19 vaccination mandate for over 50s in Italy came into effect on Tuesday after the government approved the measure in a bid to ease pressure on health services and reduce fatalities.
Over 50s who have not been vaccinated or who have not received their booster shot — which accounts for some 2.1 million people — will be fined.
The government had already made vaccination mandatory for health workers and teachers and since October last year, employees must show a vaccination certificate or negative coronavirus test to enter their workplace.
Starting February 15, over 50s will have to prove their vaccination certificate, which includes a booster shot no later than six months from their last dose, to enter their workplace.
If they fail to prove it, they will be suspended without pay.
Meanwhile, German authorities are still debating whether to introduce a Covid-19 vaccine mandate as the seven-day incidence rate reached an all-time high on Tuesday, according to official data.
Infections also rose, with 162,613 new cases in the last 24 hours while experts said the peak of the fourth wave, driven by Omicron, will reach up to 400,000 cases a day in mid-February.
The government also said the country was set to miss its vaccination target of 80% of the population having received at least one dose by the end of January.
Vaccination rates in Germany have stagnated at 74%. EFE