WHO, Germany, urge caution, masks as Ireland prepares to emerge from lockdown

Madrid Desk, Nov 19 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said Thursday that lockdowns could be avoided “if we all do our share”, while Germany’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, urged continued caution amid stabilizing infection rates.

Meanwhile in Ireland, people are hoping that the lockdown measures announced in October and due to run until the end of November will allow for a relatively “normal” holiday period.


Kluge said that confinement measures “are a last-resort” that “would not be needed if mask use reached 95 percent.”

“But, at mask-use rates of 60% or lower, it is hard to avoid lockdowns,” he said.

Kluge also stressed the need to keep schools open during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We must ensure safe learning for our children,” he said, adding that safe learning environments have been made possible “by keeping the vast majority of schools open for almost 100 consecutive days.”

“Children are not considered primary drivers of transmission and, as such, school closures are not considered to be an effective measure for the control of Covid-19.”

Kluge also welcomed the “great hope” offered by progress in vaccine development, after two “particularly promising” trials reported positive results from preliminary testing.

But the WHO Europe director said that that promise would not materialize “unless we assure that all countries have access to the vaccine market, that it is delivered equitably, that it is effectively deployed and that countries address pockets of vaccine hesitancy.”

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