WHO warns of rising levels of coronavirus fatigue in countries across Europe

New data shows significant increases in apathy towards Covid-19 across Europe, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Fatigue has been measured in different ways across 27 countries but “is now estimated to have reached over 60%” of the population in some places, said WHO regional director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P Kluge.

Dr Kluge set out three strategies for addressing the slide towards apathy.

Regular community consultation, including with local authorities as well as “expertise beyond the medical and public health sectors”, should be promoted, he suggested.

There had been positive responses when Scandinavian countries asked the public to help devise “reasonable guidance”, which Dr Klugge said is “a good example of recognising that people are experts in their own environment”.

“Citizens are at the heart of a solution to the pandemic and policymakers should treat them as such,” he added.

New ways of meeting with friends and family are also to be encouraged, with Dr Klugge citing the example of how community groups found safe ways of breaking the fast during Ramadan by doing so virtually or with delivered meals for distanced celebrations.

“A courageous approach, with empathy at its core, will get us through this crisis,” he said.

“We have an opportunity to maximise our community insights into behaviour, to integrate real community participation into public health policy on a scale that has not been done before.”