Daily US Times: Europeans are urged by the World Health Organization (WHO) to wear masks during family gatherings at Christmas.
WHO said Europe was at “high risk” of a new wave of Covid-19 infections in the early part of 2021, as transmission of the virus remained high.
Countries across Europe have been registering thousands of daily coronavirus cases and hundreds of deaths.
Germany was among countries tightening restrictions on Wednesday in an attempt to contain the virus, closing schools and non-essential businesses.
Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, said the first Covid vaccine would be authorised for use within a week.
Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be rolled out for the bloc immediately, more than a week earlier than originally envisaged.
A statement from the WHO’s European regional office said that the massive increase in gatherings of friends and families across the continent during the Christmas and winter holiday season brought a significant risk of increased Covid-19 transmission.
The global health body urged individuals, families and communities to play their part to prevent another resurgence of cases.
Family gatherings should be held outside if possible, and if indoors participants should practice social distancing and wear masks, it said.
WHO added: “It may feel awkward to wear masks and practise physical distancing when around friends and family, but doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy.”
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