World Health Organization leaders in Europe warned Tuesday that allowing the coronavirus COVID-19 to circulate so that a large part of the population can become infected and achieve immunity as has been suggested in countries such as the United Kingdom, is not recommended at this time.

During a press conference, the WHO regional director reiterated that the only strategy countries should implement remains the same.

“Cases must be identified, contacts traced, and COVID-19 contained and suppressed to flatten the curve and give health systems time to respond,” Hans Kluge said.

We don’t know enough about COVID-19

The regional emergency coordinator. Dorit Nitzan, explained that very little is known about the virus yet.

“It’s a new virus and we have to learn about it. Does it cause immunity? Or is it like the flu and it changes every year and we have to follow it? We don’t know enough and a comprehensive package of very basic public health measures is the right thing to do. We may have more information later,” he said.

Asked about different death rates in different European countries, experts said there is no clear answer at this time. It may be due to discrepancies in the calculations, but there could also be a real difference because of the demographics of countries, some with older populations and the level of care they are receiving. Some European countries are seeing their health systems overwhelmed and deaths increasing. This is something, they say, that will have to be investigated later.

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