Coronavirus Christmas: WHO warns against gathering during festive period as 'it's not worth the risk'

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on people to stay at home during the festive period as it is “not worth the risk” of catching Covid-19.

With more than half of Scotland’s council areas living under Level 3, the country’s second tightest tier, and two-thirds of England in a similar boat, WHO said “the safest thing to do right now is to remain at home”.

The organisation’s regional director for Europe Dr Hans Kluge said: “There remains a difference between what you are being permitted to do by your authorities and what you should do.”

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In a statement, he said: “We have a few more months of sacrifice ahead and can behave now in a way that collectively we are proud of. When we look back at these unprecedented times, I hope we all felt we acted with a spirit of shared humanity to protect those in need.”

Edinburgh's Christmas, Princes street gardens, German Market
Edinburgh's Christmas, Princes street gardens, German Market

It comes as Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, warned relaxing coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to an “unrelenting tsunami” of cases.

“After a difficult year, it is everybody’s instinct to want to be together and see loved ones – especially those who live far apart or feel isolated. But what is at stake is coming into sharp focus,” she said.

“Travelling and family visits associated with this time of year will undoubtedly lead to more cases, more pressure on NHS and care services, and more deaths. By turning the second and third waves into an unrelenting tsunami, we would begin 2021 in the worst possible way.”

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