Live news: New Bundesbank president Nagel warns inflation likely to last longer

The World Health Organisation has said the world is “a way off” from coronavirus being endemic, after Spain’s prime minister called for a change in approach to the spread of the disease.

Catherine Smallwood, the senior emergencies officer at WHO Europe, told reporters on Tuesday that endemicity assumed “stable circulation of the virus at predictable levels and potentially known and predictable waves of epidemic transmission”.

“What we’re seeing at the moment coming into 2022 is nowhere near that,” she said.

“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty, we still have a virus that is evolving quite quickly and posing quite new challenges,” added Smallwood.

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, earlier this week called for a change in approach that would accept that coronavirus has become endemic.

“We are heading towards an endemic illness rather than the pandemic it’s been up to now,” he told Spain’s Cadena Ser radio on Monday. “We have to respond to this situation with new tools that are linked more closely to vaccination, to protection through masks, to institutional co-operation, the contribution of science, and. international solidarity.”

Europe has registered record-breaking cases in recent weeks, though vaccines and previous waves of infection have helped blunt the impact on hospitals.

Still, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said that “because of the unprecedented scale of transmission” hospitalisations were now rising.

He added that if cases continued to spread at the current rate, more than half of the European population would be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks.

Read More: Live news: New Bundesbank president Nagel warns inflation likely to last longer

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