WHO warns against surge in coronavirus infections as Christmas nears

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference following a WHO Emergency committee to discuss whether the Coronavirus, the SARS-like virus, outbreak that began in China constitutes an international health emergency, on January 30, 2020 in Geneva. - The UN health agency declared an international emergency over the deadly coronavirus from China -- a rarely used designation that could lead to improved international co-ordination in tackling the disease. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for high alertness indicating that there is a possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases as families prepare for the festive season.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said Africa has been experiencing a rise in cases since October.

“We are now nearing the time of year when people travel to spend their holidays together. These end-of-year get togethers are a key part of African life, but they can increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Greater mobility and large gatherings can lead to new clusters of cases in parts of Africa that might previously have been spared,” Dr Moeti said.

According to WHO, a rise in new cases in most of the affected African countries is coming from workplaces and family gatherings as people are letting their guard down among colleagues and loved ones.

Dr Moeti said the upcoming holiday season may exacerbate this situation.

WHO has advised the population to meet outdoors where possible, avoid mass gatherings, continue physical distancing, practice frequent handwashing, wearing facemasks, particularly around older people and those with diabetes or hypertension. Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said plans are underway on how they will prevent the surge in cases ahead of the festive season.

The Christmas season is always known as a period of festivity or as some refer to as ‘the best time of the year. However, the celebration will be unusual this year because of COVID-19.

As people travel to the village for the celebrations, it could pose a danger in contracting the virus if guidelines are not followed. When it comes to attending church service or mass, churches will be expected to adhere to Covid-19 rules on gatherings to avoid infections.

Source: monitor.co.ug