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Nearly 80% of the EU population is thought to have been infected with Covid

Hindustan time

April 28, 2022, 09:40

Last modification: April 28, 2022, 09:53

A Covid-19 patient is taken to hospital in Europe. Photo: UNB

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A Covid-19 patient is taken to hospital in Europe. Photo: UNB

It is estimated that nearly 80% of the European Union’s population has been infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the bloc’s executive body has said. The figures were obtained by calculating unreported infections which could reach 350 million or 77% of Europe’s population, the European Commission said, Bloomberg reported.

As the EU prepares to enter a post-emergency phase in which mass reporting of cases is no longer necessary, governments should step up vaccination of children against the virus, a senior European Commission official has said. adding that he was considering developing antivirals.

“It is estimated that between 60 and 80% of the EU population have already had COVID,” said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. The commission said reported cases so far covered around 30% of Europe’s population.

With a recent drop in virus-related infections and deaths, the bloc is now moving away from mass testing and reporting of cases, Kyriakides said.

However, as further outbreaks are likely and the virus is expected to continue to mutate, countries should have plans in place to return to emergency mode and step up vaccinations, the commission said.

The bloc urged governments to continue pushing for the vaccination of unvaccinated people, especially children, before the start of the new school term in the fall.

Vaccination rates are below 15% among children aged five to nine, the youngest age group for which Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized in Europe.

The commission also said it could support the development of new drugs for Covid-19, especially antivirals that are easier to store and administer.

Covid-19 antiviral pills developed by Pfizer and Merck & Co have been approved for use in the EU, but have not been used in large quantities so far.

The EU executive also said it would work to support the development of the next generation of vaccines that would provide longer protection against infection or its transmission.