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WHO Europe chief urges nations to keep up COVID quarantines

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) European director warned national governments against reducing the quarantine period for people potentially exposed to the coronavirus, even as he acknowledged that COVID-19 fatigue was setting in with growing public resistance to the measures needed to control the pandemic.

Dr. Hans Kluge said that even a slight reduction in the length of the quarantine could have a significant effect on the spread of the virus which returned to alarming rates of transmission” in Europe this month.

Dr. Kluge insisted that countries should only reduce the standard two-week quarantine period if it was scientifically justified. He offered to convene scientific discussions on the issue, if necessary.

WHO Europe’s 53-country region recorded more than 3,00,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last week, and more than half of the countries reported a rise of more than 10% in cases over the last two weeks, he said. Of those countries, seven had their cases jump by more than two-fold.

Such statistics should be a wake-up call for all of us, Dr. Kluge said.

He called for regional coherence and said that Europe’s response has been effective when prompt and resolute. But the virus has shown (to be) merciless whenever partisanship and disinformation prevailed. Last week, France cut its required quarantine time for people possibly exposed to someone with COVID-19 from 14 days to seven, saying many people did not observe the full two-week period anyway. – The Hindu

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