Wear a mask when you see your family this Christmas, warns WHO
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Wear a mask when you see your family this Christmas, warns WHO

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Anyone able to see their family this Christmas should still ensure they wear a mask, in an effort to prevent a third wave of Coronavirus across the globe, the WHO has warned.

“There is a high risk of further resurgence in the first weeks and months of 2021,” the WHO warned.

“Anually across Europe, we see a massive increase in gatherings that bring together people of all ages, including families, religious groups and friends,” the organisation pointed out. That “brings a significant risk” of a spike in coronavirus transmission, it said.

In that vain, while wearing face masks and practicing social distancing “may feel awkward”, they are key to ensuring safety and health, according to the WHO. Gatherings should also be held outdoors, rather than indoors, wherever possible, the organisation said.

If the gatherings must be indoors, it is important to limit the number of guests and to ensure good ventilation.

“Individual decisions this winter holiday won’t just affect you and the people closest to you – they will also impact your communities,” the WHO underlined, imploring people to “not underestimate the importance of your decisions and your power (…) to influence what happens next in this pandemic.”

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More than 22 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the WHO’s European region, second only to the Americas, and nearly 500,000 people in the region have died since the start of the pandemic.

The recommendation comes as countries like the Netherlands and Germany enter new lockdowns and Belgium sees its new daily infections rise for the fourth day in a row.

Belgium’s Consultative Committee is set to meet on Friday and, while Prime Minister Alexander De Croo did not comment on any possible decisions on Friday, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said that new measures could be on the table “if necessary.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times