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COVID-19

What can Europe do to battle ‘pandemic fatigue’?

The World Health Organization warned European countries Tuesday about "pandemic fatigue" which it says threatens the continent's ability to tackle the coronavirus.

What can Europe do to battle 'pandemic fatigue'?
Empty seats and tables of a street cafe are seen at Alexanderplatz square in Berlin on March 16, 2020. AFP

“Although fatigue is measured in different ways, and levels vary per country, it is now estimated to have reached over 60 percent in some cases,” WHO Europe director Dr Hans Kluge said.

He said this is based on “aggregated survey data from countries across the region.”

Citizens have made “huge sacrifices” over the last eight months to try and contain the coronavirus, he said in a statement.

“In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue.” 

So what can governments do?

Kluge called on European authorities to listen to the public and work with them in “new and innovative ways” to reinvigorate the fight against Covid-19, which is on the increase throughout Europe.

He cited a local authority in the UK which has consulted communities to gauge their feelings, and a municipality in Denmark where students have been involved in drawing up restrictions that allow them to return to university.

Turkey has employed social media polls to understand public sentiment, while Germany's government “has consulted philosophers, historians, theologians, and behavioural and social scientists,” Kluge said.

The WHO's Europe region, which encompasses 53 countries including Russia, has seen more than 6.2 million cases and nearly 241,000 deaths related to the virus, according to the organisation's official statistics.

READ MORE: Around Europe – How countries are battling to prevent a second wave of Covid-19

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COVID-19

Norway ‘enters new Covid wave’ as minister issues warning

Norway is at the beginning of a new wave of Covid-19, according to the latest report from the Norwegian Insitute of Public Health. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Minister of Health has said measures could return if hospitals are overrun.

Norway 'enters new Covid wave' as minister issues warning

The spread of coronavirus infection in Norway is increasing, and the number of deaths and hospitalisations is on the up, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) writes in its latest assessment of the virus in Norway. 

It added that the increase in Covid was likely the beginning of a new wave of the disease. 

“It is uncertain how big this wave will be, but it is likely that a winter wave with the variants we know now (about) will not put a significantly greater burden on hospitals than the summer wave in 2022 did,” the NIPH said in the report. 

Over the last week weeks, 316 people in Norway have been hospitalised with the coronavirus. 

Norwegian Minister of Health and Social Care, Ingvild Kjerkol, said that the government would bring back Covid-19 measures if hospitals became overrun with the virus. 

“We have plans to be able to step up measures, if necessary,” Kjerkol told Norwegian newswire NTB on Wednesday.

 “What we are particularly watching now is whether we get several epidemics at the same time, i.e. a tough season with, for example, winter flu and increased corona infection,” Kjerkol added. 

Earlier this week, Assistant Health Director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, said that a new Covid-19 Omicron variant, which may be more resistant to vaccines, had begun to spread. 

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