The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the population, mainly European, to spend Christmas at home this year, to avoid the risk of contagion during the festivities.
“There is a difference between what the authorities allow and what everyone has to do,” said WHO responsible for Europe, Hans Kluge, who reiterated the warning already issued. “Stay home this Christmas. There is no point in taking risks, ”he said.
“We still have a few months of sacrifice ahead of us and now we can behave in a way that we are collectively proud of. When we look at these unprecedented times, I hope we all feel that we are acting in a spirit of shared humanity to protect those in need, ”said Hans Kluge.
Many European countries eased restrictions on covid-19 in early November, however, the number of cases has increased and fear of a spike in the weeks following the festivities has prompted many governments to tighten up. Including Portugal, which will keep the franchise over Christmas, but cut the New Year entirely.
The WHO official for Europe also stressed that the “devastation” of the pandemic has affected populations across the continent, mainly warning of the adverse effects on mental health. Covid-19 has separated thousands of families and communities, bankrupted businesses and robbed people of opportunities that a year ago were considered guaranteed.
From anxiety surrounding the transmission of the virus to the psychological impact of confinement and self-isolation, to the effects of unemployment, financial worries and social exclusion, Hans Kluge also warned that the impact of the pandemic on mental health would be felt in the long term.