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The World Health Organization (WHO) does not rule out an end to the pandemic in Europe after the current wave of the Omicron strain, said the WHO director for the European region Hans Kluge in an interview with AFP.

According to him, it is likely that the region is moving toward the final phase of the pandemic. However, Kluge warned of the need for close monitoring of possible new strains of SARS-CoV-2.

As the WHO representative noted, once the Omicron wave in Europe subsides, "there will be for quite some weeks and months a global immunity, either thanks to the vaccine or because people have immunity due to the infection, and also lowering seasonality". The approaching warm season can also affect the situation.

"We anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before Covid-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back," Kluge summarized.

The WHO estimates that more than 60 percent of people in the European region could become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 omicron mutation by March. Strain B.1.1.529, dubbed "omicron," was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in November 2021. The WHO gave it the status of "of concern" at the time.

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