“We share the present view of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that the continued surge in China just isn’t anticipated to considerably influence the COVID-19 epidemiological state of affairs within the WHO European Region at the moment.”
Restrictions ‘not unreasonable’
The WHO senior official acknowledged that China had shared virus sequencing data, however he appealed for extra “detailed and common data”, particularly regarding native epidemiology and variants “to raised assess the evolving state of affairs”.
Dr Kluge additionally mentioned that journey restrictions by European international locations on guests from China had been “not unreasonable…whereas we’re ready for extra detailed data that’s shared by publicly accessible databases”.
But he mentioned it was essential for the precautionary journey measures being launched by European international locations “to be rooted in science, to be proportionate and non-discriminatory”.
The message comes as Chinese embassies suspended issuing new visas for South Koreans and Japanese guests on Tuesday. The announcement coated vacationer, enterprise and another visa classes.
The transfer seems to be in response to COVID-19 testing necessities just lately imposed by these international locations on travellers from China.
A discover posted in Seoul reportedly mentioned the ban would proceed till South Korea lifts its “discriminatory entry measures” towards China.
At least ten international locations in Europe, North America and Asia have introduced new virus testing necessities for travellers from China, with officers expressing concern a couple of lack of enough details about quickly spreading virus outbreaks in China.
Warning towards complacency
In two additional messages to the WHO European Region, Dr Kluge warned towards international locations significantly lowering their surveillance capability for COVID-19.
In the primary 5 weeks of 2022, variant data on 1.2 million circumstances was submitted as a part of weekly surveillance knowledge to the WHO and the ECDC.
However, this declined to about 90,000 circumstances within the final 5 weeks of the yr.
Dr Kluge pressured that international locations should construct upon the teachings discovered over the past three years and be capable of anticipate, detect and reply in time to SARS-CoV-2, and any rising well being menace.
He counseled European international locations, together with Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which have maintained robust genomic surveillance and identified that their latest knowledge has began to point the rising presence of the brand new XBB.1.5 recombinant virus, derived from the Omicron variant, that has already been spreading quickly throughout the United States.
The new pressure is being “picked up in small, however rising numbers, and we’re working to evaluate its potential influence,” he mentioned. “With many international locations grappling with overstretched well being methods, shortages in important medicines and an exhausted well being workforce – we can not afford extra pressures on our well being methods.”
Finally, Dr Kluge urged international locations throughout Europe and Central Asia to step up efforts to place efficient methods in place to fight the unfold of COVID-19 and keep away from being complacent.