Half of Europe will be infected with Covid within weeks – forecast

The prevalence of the highly contagious Omicron variant has doubled since late December

The World Health Organization has said current modelling suggests that more than half of the population of Europe will be infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the next six to eight weeks.

Speaking on Tuesday, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Europe director, Hans Kluge, gave a stark warning about the spread of coronavirus. 

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50% of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks,” Kluge told a news briefing.

The WHO’s top Europe official said that there were 7 million newly reported Covid-19 cases on the continent in the first week of 2022. The figure suggests that the Omicron variant’s prevalence has doubled over a two-week period. 

READ MORE: 20mn on lockdown after Omicron alert

The highly contagious variant has caused a huge surge in infection rates across the continent already. Last week, France recorded more than 300,000 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours.

Omicron has also caused record Covid rates in the UK where some hospitals are being pushed to the limit with unvaccinated Britons taking up a large proportion of hospital beds.

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