SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

WHO warns Europe of Covid-19 ‘resurgence’ and urges families to wear face masks at Christmas

The World Health Organization in Europe Wednesday urged families to wear face masks during this year's Christmas family gatherings, as it warned of a "further resurgence" of Covid-19 in early 2021.

WHO warns Europe of Covid-19 'resurgence' and urges families to wear face masks at Christmas
Pedestrians wearing protective face masks check out the window in a store in Paris. Photo: AFP

The UN  agency said people should not underestimate “the importance of your decisions” and encouraged extra precaution for holiday gatherings, even within the family. 

If possible, the WHO said celebrations should be held outdoors and “participants should wear masks and maintain physical distancing.”

For indoor festivities, the WHO said limiting the number of guests and ensuring good ventilation were key to reducing the risk of infection.

“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,” the health agency said in a statement.

The plea came as the agency noted that “Covid-19 transmission across the European region remains widespread and intense,” even though some “fragile progress” had been made.

“There is a high risk of further resurgence in the first weeks and months of 2021, and we will need to work together if we are to succeed in preventing it,” WHO Europe said.

The WHO's European Region comprises 53 countries and includes Russia and several countries in Central Asia, a region that has registered more than 22 million cases of the new coronavirus and close to 500,000 deaths.

In the last seven days, nearly 1.7 million new cases have been recorded, as well as more than 34,500 deaths.

As a second wave of the novel coronavirus is sweeping over the continent, many countries have once again introduced tough measures to curb the spread.

On Wednesday, several new measures were imposed, including the closure of non-essential shops in Germany and pubs and restaurants in Britain.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

Danish region wants health service physiotherapy without referral from doctor

Greater Copenhagen says it wants to extend nationally a scheme allowing patients to access physiotherapy through the public health system without a doctor’s referral.

Danish region wants health service physiotherapy without referral from doctor

Under current rules, referral from a doctor covers around 40 percent of the cost of physiotherapy treatment.

Patients can go directly to physiotherapists without a doctors’ referral if they pay the full cost of treatment.

The proposed scheme would see physiotherapists make the decision as to whether the patient qualifies for the subsidy.

A trial project in two municipalities in the region, Ballerup and Frederikssund, proved popular with patients and doctors.

As a result, the Greater Copenhagen health region wants to see whether the scheme can be extended nationally, news wire Ritzau reports.

“If we can offer easier access to treatment thereby avoid patients getting worsened symptoms and needing more expensive treatment later on, I think it would be worth it,” Karin Friis Bach, an elected head of committee for local health services with Region Greater Copenhagen, told Ritzau.

An evaluation by the health authority suggested that direct access to physiotherapy did not increase costs for the public health provider. The scheme did not result in increased demand at physio clinics, results from evaluation of the scheme showed.

The plan could relieve strain on the health service according to the chairman for the general practitioners’ union PLO in Copenhagen, Peder Reistad.

“In a time where there is a shortage of GPs and the entire health system is under strain, it makes sense to look at whether there are tasks that can be undertaken more smoothly to free up time for general practice,” Reistad said.

SHOW COMMENTS