'Wear face masks at family Christmas parties to avoid Covid spike in 2021'

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging people to wear masks for Christmas family gatherings in Europe.

Many countries are relaxing rules to allow more people to mix indoors over the festive period – but scientists have warned it could lead to a spike in deaths.

WHO said there is a ‘high risk’ of virus resurgence in Europe in early 2021.

But they said wearing face masks at Christmas parties could minimise the spike.

New guidance issued today said: ‘Indoor gatherings, even smaller ones, can be especially risky because they bring together groups of people, young and old, from different households, who may not all be adhering to the same infection prevention measures.

‘Gatherings should be held outside if possible, and participants should wear masks and maintain physical distancing. If held indoors, limiting group size and ensuring good ventilation to reduce exposure risk are key.

‘It may feel awkward to wear masks and practise physical distancing when around friends and family, but doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy.’

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