• Mon. Sep 19th, 2022

The European Centre for Disease Control has issued a new report, in which it warns of the increased risk of Covid-19 transmission during the festive season.

Dec 5, 2020

The European Centre for Disease Control has issued a new report, in which it warns of the increased risk of Covid-19 transmission during the festive season.
A combination of social gatherings, people on the move, and fatigue with pandemic restrictions means the risk of coronavirus transmission to the general population is assessed as “high”.
For vulnerable individuals, including the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, the risk is assessed as “very high” according to the ECDC.
The risk assessment report advised that where measures are lifted, an increase in hospitalisations could be expected about three weeks afterwards.
“The earlier measures are lifted, the larger and more rapid the increase in case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths would be,” said the ECDC.
An extension of school holidays “or a time of distance learning for students” is one of its suggestions to help decrease the risk of transmission from festive gatherings.
“In the same way, a similar time of teleworking could be considered for workers to reduce the opportunities for transmission in the workplace before and after the end-of-year break.”
When possible, having a small “social bubble” some time before and during the festive season is advised.
“Gatherings only with members of the same household pose the lowest risk of transmission. If not possible, self-quarantine before gatherings with members of the same social bubble but a different household is advised,” the ECDC said.
Here in Ireland, the Government is allowing three households to mix for social and family gatherings in homes, gardens and other outdoor settings from 18 December.
Physical distancing when possible, hand and respiratory hygiene, use of face masks and sufficient ventilation during gatherings should be ensured.
The ECDC said people travelling during the festive season should be aware that “travel in shared transport may increase their own risk of Covid-19” and also risk spreading infection if they are asymptomatic.
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People should decide whether or not to travel “according to an assessment of the personal risk, risk for co-passengers and the risk of family and friends they plan to meet”.
However, the ECDC is not recommending international travel restrictions or systematic testing and quarantine of travellers.
“In the current epidemiological situation, imported cases account for a very small proportion of all detected cases [in the EU and UK] and are unlikely to significantly increase the rate of transmission,” it stated.
“Therefore, international travel restrictions, including border closures, would not be expected to have a significant impact on the evolution of the pandemic.”
The ECDC said that this Christmas, people only engage in travel and social activities that are “genuinely important”.
Its risk assessment report concluded on an upbeat note.
“Remember that treatments have been improving in recent months, and that there is also now the prospect that vaccines will start to become available early next year.
“Thus, there is room for some optimism, and we should use this to help us through the rest of the winter.”