WHO advises against reopening schools in countries with high contagion

The reopening of schools in countries with high contagion with the new coronavirus "will worsen the situation" associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Ryan, responsible for the World Health Organization (WHO) Sanitary Emergencies program, said on Wednesday.

After the 2019/20 school year was partially interrupted by the pandemic, several countries remain uncertain about whether to reopen schools, and Ryan advised that this measure should only be adopted in places where contagion levels are low and measures are in place. response to any cases of infection that arise in the classroom.

“We all want children to go back to school. They and teachers must do this in a safe environment ”, stressed the epidemiologist, in a question and answer session transmitted by WHO on the Internet.

Asked about the possibility of parents of children with previous health problems taking them to school in case of resumption of classes, Michael Ryan stressed that this depends on the contingency plans of each school, advising the consultation of school officials.

Teachers with chronic illnesses or other health problems should consult their doctors about the precautions they should or should not take when going to work, added WHO technical officer for combating Covid-19, Maria Kerkhove.

WHO also asked young people to assume “their responsibilities” in containing the transmission of the new coronavirus.

Michael Ryan recalled that “the elderly were very careful to protect themselves” when covid-19 was initially seen as a disease that affected the elderly or people with “certain health problems” and asked for this care from the youngest.

“Young people have a great opportunity to reduce transmission through their behavior. They must take into account the responsibility they have in this regard, ”said the epidemiologist.

In late July, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had already warned that young people were not "invincible" and that in some countries they were too numerous to "let their guard down".

The Ethiopian official then asked the youth to "take the same precautions as other people to protect themselves from the virus and to protect others".

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 701 deaths and infected more than 18,5 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.

In Portugal, 1.740 people of the 51.848 confirmed as infected died, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

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