Delta variant has shown signs of ability to evade some vaccines, WHO European director says

The director for Europe of the World Health Organization has warned that the highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 first identified in India is “about to settle in the region” as many countries prepare for it. Relax restrictions and allow more social gatherings and cross-border travel.

At a press briefing Thursday, WHO’s Dr Hans Kluge said the variant, also known as the delta variant, had shown signs of the ability to evade certain vaccines and warned that many populations vulnerable, especially those over 60, remained unprotected.

“We’ve been here before,” warned Mr Kluge, WHO’s European regional director. “Over the past summer, cases gradually increased in younger age groups and then moved to older age groups, contributing to a devastating resurgence,” he said. Mr Kluge said the COVID-19 spike ultimately led to more lockdowns and deaths in the fall and winter of 2020. “Let’s not make this mistake again. “

Mr Kluge did not say people should not travel, but urged all travelers to do so wisely. He also called for scaling up vaccination and other public health measures across the continent, saying even vaccination coverage “is far from sufficient to protect the region”.