• WHO Chief Urges Fully Vaccinated People To Wear Masks
(Photo: Reuters-Yonhap)

The head of the World Health Organization has warned vaccines alone will not end the COVID-19 pandemic, urging fully vaccinated people to continue to follow basic preventative measures to avoid catching the virus and passing it on to others.

"We're concerned about the false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic and people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday while speaking to reporters in Geneva.

He said vaccines reduce the spread of the dominant Delta variant of the coronavirus by about 40 percent and save lives "but they do not fully prevent transmission."

Dr. Tedros said everyone should continue to take precautions.

"That means wearing a mask, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds and meeting others outside if you can, or in a well-ventilated space inside," he said.

The WHO said Europe was again the epicenter of the pandemic due to Delta, sluggish vaccine uptake in some nations, colder weather moving people indoors and the easing of restrictions.

Last week, more than 60 percent of all new COVID-19 infections and deaths were in Europe, putting unsustainable pressure on health systems and personnel.

Infections are also rising in the United States, with more than 95,000 new cases and 1,100 deaths reported daily on average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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