The spread of Covid-19, particularly the Omicron variant, might mean holiday gatherings need to be cancelled, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.
“There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths,” Tedros said in a media briefing for Geneva-based journalists.
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“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal. The fastest way to do that is for all of us – leaders and individuals – to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others.”
Tedros said this might mean cancelling in-person events, “but an event cancelled is better than a life cancelled.”
“It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later, than to celebrate now and grieve later. None of us want to be here again in 12 months’ time, talking about missed opportunities, continued inequity, or new variants.”
Stricter Covid-19 measures have come into effect across Europe, as several nations rush to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.
Also read: Study finds Omicron multiplies faster in airways, slower in lungs
Omicron has also been identified in many countries and at least 45 US states as of Sunday, according to state officials in their respective states and with the Delta variant still present, Covid-19 cases in some areas are rising.
Health experts are urging people to get vaccinated or boosted to protect themselves and others before they face greater chances of infection.