The WHO COVID envoy fears the third wave and calls Europe's reply "incomplete".
© Reuters. The Nabarro candidate for WHO Director General attends a press conference in Geneva
ZURICH (Reuters) – A COVID-19 special envoy from the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted a third wave of the pandemic in Europe in early 2021, if governments repeat what he said was a failure to do what to prevent the second wave of infections was required.
"You missed the construction of the necessary infrastructure in the summer months after you had brought the first wave under control," said David Nabarro of the WHO in an interview with Swiss newspapers.
"Now we have the second wave. If they do not build the necessary infrastructure, we will have a third wave early next year," said Nabarro, a British who campaigned unsuccessfully in 2017 to become WHO Director General.
Europe briefly recorded a decline in infection rates, which are now rising again: in Germany and France, the cases increased by 33,000 on Saturday, in Switzerland and Austria there are thousands of cases daily, while Turkey reported a record of 5,532 new infections.
Nabarro highlighted Switzerland's move to make skiing possible – with masks that are needed in gondolas – since other Alpine countries such as Austria have closed ski areas. Nabarro said Switzerland could have "very high levels of disease and death".
"As soon as the infection rates drop and they drop, we can be as free as we want," Nabarro was quoted as saying by the Solothurner Zeitung. "But right now? Should ski areas open? Under what conditions?"
Nabarro praised the reaction of Asian countries such as South Korea, in which the infections are now relatively low: "The people are fully committed, adopt behaviors that make the virus more difficult. They keep their distance, wear masks and isolate when they are sick, hands and Wash surfaces. They protect the most vulnerable groups. "
Nabarro also said Asia had not eased restrictions ahead of time.
"You have to wait until the case numbers are low and stay low," he said. "Europe's response was incomplete."
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