By Spy Uganda
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given a stark warning to the public over plans to hold Christmas gatherings this year as the Omicron variant spreads globally.
The head of the WHO warned that celebrating the festivities as normal would in many places lead to “increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths” and urged people to postpone gatherings.
“An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and added that “difficult decisions” must be made.
They also said data suggests it is more likely people vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or re-infected.
A second WHO official has said some Christmas gatherings should be “changed or delayed” this year in order to keep people safe.
When asked what constitutes them not being safe, she said: “If you have got a large number of people or a considerable number of people especially people coming from different places. You don’t know what their exposure has been.
“People coming together in that sort of circumstance is what we call social mixing, that’s the moment at which you are most likely to spread Covid and particularly Omicron.”
If families go ahead with Christmas gatherings, they could mitigate the risks by opening windows, wearing masks and keeping socially distanced, she said.
“If you have gatherings that are not going to be safe, change them, delay them, do them later don’t do them now,” said WHO spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris.
It comes as Omicron continues to spread across the globe, with health experts in the US declaring it is now the dominant strain in the country.
A number of countries have tightened Covid restrictions to try to halt the spread of Omicron.