Jakarta: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a tipping point in the fight against covid-19 amid surging cases in Europe.
"We were prepared for a challenging start to 2021 and it has been just that," Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said during a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
Although new tools against the disease are now available, including several vaccines, and knowledge about the virus has increased, the world remains in the grip of covid-19, he said.
"This moment represents a tipping-point in the course of the pandemic – where science, politics, technology and values must form a united front, in order to push back this persistent and elusive virus," he stated.
Last year, more than 26 million cases of covid-19 were confirmed in the WHO European Region, which comprises 53 countries.
Over a quarter of countries are seeing very high incidence of the disease and strained health systems.
Currently, more than 230 million people are living in countries under full national lockdown, and more governments are expected to announce lockdowns in the coming week.
Dr. Kluge said the impact of the recent holiday period, characterized by family gatherings and the relaxing of preventive measures such as physical distancing and wearing masks, cannot yet be determined.