The World Health Organization’s director for Europe has asked people to avoid large gatherings during the holidays, despite the depression and anxieties caused by “social exclusion” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a difference between “what you are being permitted to do by your authorities and what you should do,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.
“The safest thing right now is to remain at home,” Kluge stressed, explaining that large gatherings during the holiday season were “not worth the risk,” despite people’s natural feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
“We have a few more months of sacrifice ahead and can behave now in a way that we are collectively proud of,” the official cautioned.
Kluge acknowledged that “social exclusion” caused by the lockdowns and self-isolation has contributed to anxieties and depression during the pandemic.
We expect to see a larger number of people facing more severe mental health challenges in the coming months as the reality of this experience takes hold.
A second wave of Covid-19 infections forced many European countries to bring back tougher restrictions, including lockdowns, curfews and limits on the number of households allowed to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together.
There is hope that vaccines will slow down the spread of the coronavirus. A nationwide vaccination campaign kicked off in the UK earlier this month. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that vaccination will start across the EU on December 27-29.
The EU’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, is currently reviewing vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, and by Moderna.
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