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April 13, 2021

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Europe’s grim pandemic toll rings alarm on world solidarity

Europe reached an agonizing milestone as its death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic topped 1 million last Friday.

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe reported more than 47 million infections, 1,001,313 of them fatal, underlining the seriousness of the health crisis in the region.

Behind these numbers are huge human, economic losses and many heartbreaking moments. What lies ahead is an uphill battle, whose victory hinges on stronger international collaboration with true respect for science.

When a cunning, contagious and previously little-known virus strikes, a well-targeted and science-based approach is crucial for humankind to win a complete victory.

European countries have adopted a variety of measures to fight the pandemic, including testing, contact tracing, imposing quarantine measures, travel bans and lockdowns, as well as scrambling to get more vaccines.

Arduous battle

However, the exponential spread of the disease, variants with advantageous mutations, and the slower-than-expected vaccine rollout have made the battle more arduous.

In an article published by The Lancet in January, a group of 17 medical experts called for a pan-Europe action plan to defend against the new variants. “Such variants could quickly exacerbate the crisis, long before enough people are vaccinated,” they warned.

Europe has made progress in research development.

The region has done innovative work such as developing vaccines, providing theoretical contribution to understanding the dynamic of transmission, and laying out the theory behind risk control and assessment, as some European scientists have pointed out. But they also noted that the region needs to do more to develop a common policy to reduce transmission and keep it low.

International health professionals have also called on politicians and the public to jointly commit to a European strategy that builds on vaccination, green zones, as well as testing, tracing and quarantine.

In this age of an unprecedented level of interconnectivity, it rings more true than ever that humankind shares one common future. Cooperation is the only way for the human race to navigate this unprecedented crisis.

With solidarity and cooperation and by giving full play to the power of science, humankind will surely stop the coronavirus from inflicting more deaths and sufferings on countries worldwide.


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