WHO Tells Europeans to Wear Masks at Family Christmas Gatherings
'They should be held outdoors whenever possible or be limited in size and duration'
The World Health Organization (WHO) has told Europeans gathering with family members for the Christmas period they should wear masks.
The new guidelines come after the health body told people to have a picnic in the park on December 25th to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
In a briefing paper, the WHO’s European office said Christians should consider “postponing or reducing” church celebrations and religious processions.
“Regardless of location, religious services should take place differently this year," the WHO said.
"They should be held outdoors whenever possible or be limited in size and duration, with physical distancing, ventilation, hand hygiene, and mask use, as appropriate."
The news comes after Germany announced it would go into lockdown this week, as Chancellor Angela Merkel ordering citizens not to attend church.
Merkel also banned the sale of fireworks to curtail New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The health body also recommended small parties of family and friends — “should be held outside if possible, and participants should wear masks and maintain physical distancing.”
The WHO recommended that people should not visit older and vulnerable relatives or friends to save them from the anxiety of spending the holidays with loved ones and risking catching COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised Britons to avoid seeing elderly relatives until 2021 when they have been vaccinated.
Last month, the WHO also urged people to skip the Christmas dinner at their homes and opt for a picnic in the park.
In the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci also warned Americans should stay away from their own kids over Christmas.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this week that he and his wife would not be seeing his three adult children for Christmas or for his birthday on Christmas Eve.
The leading health official urged other Americans to do the same amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci made the remarks during an interview with the Washington Post’s Power Up newsletter.
"I’m going to be with my wife – period," Fauci told WaPo on Monday.
"The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday," said Fauci, who is turning 80.
"And Christmas Day is Christmas Day."
"And they are not going to come home … That’s painful."
"We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time."