The World Health Organization's Europe director projected that the omicron variant could shift the COVID-19 pandemic into a more manageable endemic illness in Europe.
Hans Kluge told the AFP news agency on Sunday that it is plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of “pandemic endgame.”
Kluge said that once the current surge of omicron sweeping across Europe subsides, there will be global immunity for a period of time, either thanks to the vaccine or because people have immunity due to the infection.
The WHO official projected that there will be "a period of quiet" before COVID-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily as a pandemic.
The director said that the pandemic has entered a new phase with the omicron variant, which could infect 60 percent of people in Europe by March, and that could eventually bring the pandemic to an end.
According to the WHO, in the organization’s Europe region, which comprises 53 countries including several in Central Asia, omicron represented 15 percent of new cases as of January 18, compared to six-point-three percent a week earlier.