‘Pandemic Endgame’? W.H.O. Official Says Coronavirus ‘Emergency Phase’ May End This Year in Europe

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    While countries such as Austria and Germany move towards mandatory vaccinations and France has implemented a fully-fledged vaccine passport on Monday, Dr Hans Kluge, the European regional director for the W.H.O. has said that the “emergency phase” of the virus may be coming to a close.

    “It's plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame,” the Belgian doctor told the Agence France-Presse, predicting that the omicron variant of the Wuhan virus could infect up to 60 per cent of Europeans by March.

    Upon the variant reaching its peak, Dr Kluge said that “there will be for quite some weeks and months a global immunity, either thanks to the vaccine or because people have immunity due to the infection, and also lowering seasonality”.

    “We anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before COVID-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back,” Dr Kluge added.

    “The pandemic is far from over, but I am hopeful we can end the emergency phase in 2022 and address other health threats that urgently require our attention,” he said in a statement on Monday.

    Despite the show of optimism from the regional head of the World Health Organization, countries across Europe are continuing to enact draconian measures in response to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

    On Monday, France transformed its ‘Pass Sanitaire' from a COVID pass — which would be granted to those with proof of a negative test, proof of recovery, or vaccination — into a vaccine passport only provided to those who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus.

    In Germany, the head of the left-wing coalition government, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview over the weekend that it would be “naive” to think that the pandemic is over.

    Scholz, who recently replaced longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, argued that making vaccines mandatory will be the only way to prevent further waves of the virus.

    “Yes, the situation will hopefully improve and relax in the spring and summer. But next fall is sure to come,” Sholz said in comments reported by national broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

    “I'm convinced now that without compulsory vaccination, we won't be able to get the vaccination rates up to the level needed to get us out of the pandemic,” he said.

    Currently around 75 per cent of the adult German population have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, however, the Social Democrat leader of the country is hoping to drive the number up to 90 per cent through mandates.

    This week, Scholz will meet with the leaders of Germany's 16 states as he looks to sure up support for his plan to implement the vax mandate.

    In response to the push for vaccine mandates, mass ‘Freedom Day' protests were held across Europe over the weekend, with the capital city of the EU, Brussels descending into riotous scenes as police clashed with protesters.

    As Europe has continued with its push for more state control, Brexit Britain has scrapped mandatory masks in public spaces and COVID passports. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also reportedly looking to end almost all coronavirus restrictions by March.

    Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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