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Poland ski jumping coach worried about weak performances******
WARSAW, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Poland ski jumping team coach Michal Dolezal is worried about the weak performances of his athletes in the first period of the Olympic season and admitted that "it's the most difficult time in his career."
The Poles, who are considered as one of the favorites to take medal in the team competition at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, made a nightmare start of the FIS World Cup season. The leader of the team Kamil Stoch didn't advance into the final round in the inaugural competition in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, while later the three-time Olympic champion finished eighth in Kuusamo, Finland.。
The athletes coached by Dolezal eye on good results at home soil in Wisla this weekend, but the Czech admitted that "the situation is difficult".。
"We try to keep calm, although we know that it's not a good time for us. We have prepared for the season really well, I'm sure that soon we will get better results", Dolezal said in an interview for local media on Friday.。
"I hope the competition in Wisla will be a breakthrough for us. However, we feel pressure as we will perform in front of the Polish supporters. We know the hill very well, it can help us," the 43-year-old added.。
The pressure is even more as Dolezal didn't expect such problems just a few months before the Winter Olympics.。
"To be honest it's the most difficult period of my career, as a coach I haven't faced such a hard situation yet. We have to work harder to cope with the obstacles. When we get out of this, we will be even stronger. I hope it will happen as soon as possible," Dolezan concluded.。
On Saturday the ski jumpers will compete in the team competition of the FIS World Cup in Wisla, Poland. The individual contest will take place on Sunday. Enditem。
End of pandemic in sight for Europe: WHO******
Two years after the outbreak of COVID-19, Europe could soon enter a "long period of tranquility" due to high vaccination rates, the milder Omicron variant and the end of winter, the WHO said Thursday.
WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said the respite was "a ceasefire that could bring us enduring peace."
"This context leaves us with the possibility for a long period of tranquility," he told reporters on Thursday.
Widespread immunity from vaccines and infections, combined with the change of season, also puts Europe in a better position to fend off any resurgence in transmission, he said.
"Even with a more virulent variant" than Omicron, Kluge said.
"It is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge – without reinstalling the kind of disruptive measures we needed before," Kluge said.
This was "not to say that (the pandemic) is now all over," but "there is a singular opportunity to take control of the transmission," he stressed.
He cautioned that the optimistic scenario would only hold true if countries continued their vaccination campaigns and intensified surveillance to detect new variants.
He also urged health authorities to protect risk groups and to promote individual responsibility, such as social distancing and mask-wearing.
With the more contagious Omicron variant in circulation, infections have surged across the WHO's European region, which comprises 53 countries, including some in central Asia.
Some 12 million new cases were registered last week in the region, according to the WHO, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
But faced with a lower level of hospitalisations than in previous waves, several European countries, including France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have announced the lifting or a considerable reduction of restrictions, despite record or very high cases.
Denmark on Tuesday became the first European Union country to lift its domestic COVID-19 restrictions, followed later in the day by Norway.
Speaking on the eve of World Cancer Day, Kluge also expressed concern over the "catastrophic impact" the pandemic has had on cancer care around the world.
In the last three months of 2021, cancer screenings and treatments were disrupted by five to 50 percent in all countries surveyed, he said.
"The situation has improved since the first quarter of last year," he said. "But the knock-on effect of this disruption will be felt for years."
He urged Europe's health-care authorities to take advantage of the expected seasonal COVID lull to reduce backlogs in chronic care services.
华商报记者 毛蜜娜 通讯员 周冰婵