GENEVA (Reuters) – Rates of COVID-19 infections and hospital bed occupancy are rising in Europe, where authorities need to work to halt spread ahead of the influenza season, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday.
“Europe has a lot of work to do to stabilise the situation and bring transmission under control,” Mike Ryan, WHO’s emergency expert told a press conference. “Overall within that very large region we are seeing a worrying increase in disease.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said: “We are at the end of September and we haven’t even started our flu season yet, so what we are worried about is the possibility that these trends are going in the wrong direction”.
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Earlier admissions to hospital and the use of the steroid dexamethasone were saving lives, she said, adding: “We want to avoid any national lockdowns that were happening in the beginning.”
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Emma Farge and Michael Shields
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