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Europe faces third wave early next year, WHO warns

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Our Reporter

EUROPE could face a third wave of coronavirus in early 2021 if governments are too quick to lift restrictions, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert David Nabarro has warned.

Nabarro, the WHO’s special COVID-19 envoy, said Europe’s response to the virus was “incomplete” and would lead to another peak of infections next year.

Speaking to Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung, he said governments had “missed building up the necessary infrastructure during the summer months, after they brought the first wave under the control”.

“Now, we have the second wave. If they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year,” Nabarro said.

Last month, Nabarro said the UK was acting too slowly to deal with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government of “resistance” to quick action for “political reasons”.

In his latest comments, he drew a comparison between Europe’s response and that of Asia, saying the former’s was “incomplete” and urging governments to resist relaxing coronavirus restrictions too quickly.

Read Also: WHO warns against use of remdesivir for COVID-19 patients

He said in Asia people are “fully engaged, they take on behaviours that make it difficult for the virus. They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, and wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”

He added: “Another element that is very clear in East Asia is that once you have brought down the case numbers … you don’t relax the measures. You wait until the case numbers are low and stay low.”

His comments come after European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the European Union should only lift coronavirus restrictions slowly and gradually to avoid another wave of infections.

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