World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday welcomed the first weekly decline in global COVID-19 cases since September, citing the impact of measures mainly in hard-hit Europe and warning against complacency.
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But he warned that death counts were still rising across the world — and cases were still rising in other parts of the world outside of Europe.
“This is no time for complacency, especially with holiday season approaching in many cultures and countries,” he said.
Tedros, an Ethiopian who goes by his first name, urged people to be careful during the festive season and said COVID-19 will “change the way we celebrate”.
But it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate,” he added, asking people to assess whether they really needed to travel.
As several European countries have suspended access to the ski slopes to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, WHO’s emergencies chief Michael Ryan said the risk of catching COVID-19 while skiing was likely minimal.
“I suspect many people won’t be infected barreling down the slopes on their skis,” said Ryan at a WHO news briefing on Monday.
He said that rather than targeting any specific sport like skiing or hiking, governments need to consider how best to reduce contact between people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.