WHO Director says Europe should brace for deadly 2nd wave in winter

Co-director of the intensive care unit at CommonSpirit's Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Zafia Anklesaria, 35, who is seven months pregnant, puts on PPE (personal protective equipment) before intubating a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at the hospital where she works, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Dr Hans Kluge, the Director of WHO Europe, said that Europe should expect a deadly second wave of coronavirus to hit in winter.

Kluge said this during an interview with The Telegraph. He warned the countries which are relaxing the restrictive measures taken due to the coronavirus outbreak that this is a time for preparation and not celebration.

The WHO Director stated that even though the cases in the UK, France and Italy are declining, this does not mean that the pandemic is over. He explained that the epicentre of the pandemic seems to be moving towards the East, with increasing numbers in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakstan.

According to Dr Kluge, European countries should use this time of relative calmness to strengthen their public health systems, whilst making sure that the hospitals can cater for the pandemic’s dire needs, as well as maintaining strong primary health care and intensive health care units.

He mentioned Singapore and Japan as examples of countries who have understood the need to prepare for a worse situation. Scandinavian countries are also in preparation mode; whilst not excluding the possibility of a second wave, they are hoping that it will be localised and immediately controlled.

Explaining further, Dr Kluge said that the second wave may well come when there are other infective diseases on the rise. He expressed concern about the possibility of the second wave of coronavirus hitting Europe at the same time of an outbreak of the flu or measles.

So far, there have been over 5,600,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, out of which 2,400,000 have recovered, and 2,800,000 have lost their lives.

Malta is in a transition phase, a number of measures having been relaxed last Friday, including the gradual reopening of restaurants and other businesses, much to the healthcare workers’ disapproval.

Prime Minister Robert Abela seems to be unconvinced of the second wave of coronavirus, dismissing it during a live interview on One Television last week, saying that waves are in the sea, which people should enjoy by going to the beach. He claims that the second wave is being mentioned by some as a means to scare people into staying home and not carrying on with their lives.

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