WHO regional director says daily death rate set to increase in autumn

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Europe is expected to record an increase in the number of daily deaths due to COVID-19 in October and November, the regional-director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Hans Kluge said on Monday.

“It’s going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,” Kluge told AFP in an interview, noting, however, that the pandemic “is going to finish, at one moment or another.”

“It’s a moment where countries don’t want to hear this bad news, and I understand,” Kluge added, as the continent is reporting an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

The regional director of the UN specialised body also dashed citizens’ and leaders’ hopes that a vaccine will bring an end to the pandemic.

“I hear the whole time: ‘the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic’. Of course not!,” Kluge said before adding that “We don’t even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not for the other.”

His comments came as WHO Europe’s 55 member states held an online meeting on Monday and Tuesday to discuss their five-year strategy over the response to Coronavirus.

Only on Saturday, France reported 10,561 new cases and 17 new deaths, forcing authorities to impose stricter measures in several cities. Yet, Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would avoid a new nationwide lockdown that would cripple the country’s economy.

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