WHO: European Authorities Should Not Close Schools as a Measure Against COVID-19
The World Health Organization's regional office for Europe calls on the continent's authorities not to close schools when taking preventive and restrictive measures against the spread of COVID-19.
According to a press release published today, there has been an increased transmission of coronavirus infection in Europe for four consecutive weeks (57% of all new cases worldwide in the third week of October).
In this context, 45 countries and territories recommend that schools remain open to face-to-face learning, while seven countries have opted for full or partial school closure and two countries recommend distance learning.
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According to the World Health Organization, the interruption of children's education should be a last resort.
"The widespread closure of schools last year, which disrupted the education of millions of children and teenagers, did more harm than good, especially for the mental and social well-being of children. We cannot repeat the same mistakes," said Hans Kluge, head of the regional office of the Health Organization for Europe.
Instead of closing schools, the World Health Organization recommends a wide range of measures such as physical distance, frequent hand washing, wearing masks, classroom ventilation and increased access to tests, especially in places with a high prevalence.
"In order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the coming months, it is vital that government and public decisions are based on data and evidence, with the understanding that the epidemic situation may change and that our behavior must change." Science must take precedence over politics, the long-term interests of children must remain a priority, especially now that the transmission of infections is increasing in a number of countries. We have more effective tools to deal with this problem than closing schools.” adds Kluge.
To date, 76 million cases of COVID-19 and 1.4 million deaths from the new coronavirus have been reported in the World Health Organization's European region.
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