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WHO advises staying home at Christmas and avoiding family gatherings

The regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge, has advised the population to stay home during the Christmas holidays and even avoid going to family gatherings in order to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.

Kluge has warned that infections in much of Europe remain “intense and widespread” and, in addition, the daily number of deaths from Covid-19 continues at the “highest” rates observed since the beginning of the year.

“The devastation of the pandemic has had a relentless and great, with loss of human life and livelihood. Covid-19 has separated families and communities, ruined businesses and deprived people of opportunities that a year ago they took for granted, “Kluge lamented.

For this reason, the European leader of the WHO has stressed the importance of staying home at Christmas, and has recognized that both he and his family have made the “difficult decision” to spend the holidays separately so that next year they can pass them “together”.

In this sense, Kluge has warned that although the first doses of vaccines arrive, there is still a “long” wait to return to normality. “We have a few more months of sacrifice ahead of us and we can now behave in a way that we are collectively proud of. As we look back on these unprecedented times, I hope we all feel that we act in a spirit of shared humanity to protect those in need. “, he has added.

Likewise, the expert has also warned that the psychological effects that the pandemic is causing will last in the long term and will be “far-reaching”. National surveys conducted during the initial stages of the pandemic revealed that a third or more of the adult population was distressed, and in addition, an International Labor Organization survey on COVID-19 and youth found that due to the pandemic, 1 in 2 young people between 18 and 29 years old suffers from depression and anxiety.

It has also been shown that up to 20 percent of healthcare workers suffer from anxiety and depression. “It is clear that while the impact has varied, no demographic or age group has been spared. The mental health cost of COVID-19 will be compounded by the anxieties that often occur during winter and the holiday season. No We can underestimate the impact this can have on our friends, our families and our own mental health, “Kluge said.

For this reason, he has emphasized the need for tools to mitigate anxiety or depression, thus recommending taking a walk in nature, planning days or doing things differently every day. “Mental health issues continue to be deeply stigmatized in many communities. Raising community awareness of the spectrum of mental health challenges will be important as the true scale of the crisis becomes clear. Specialized care and support services must be maintained to those who face more serious mental health problems, “he detailed.

Finally, Kluge has urged countries to strengthen their mental health services in 2021 and prioritize the needs for psychosocial support that health professionals may have, valuing in the long term their “courage and contribution” in the fight against the coronavirus.

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