WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is appealing to Caribbean and other nationals to avoid travel and large gathering during the holidays.
On Wednesday, PAHO said that holiday season gatherings and travel involve risks and based on this the public is being urged to follow the guidance of national and local health authorities to make the season as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During a pandemic, there is no such thing as a risk-free holiday season. Every gathering, every shopping trip, and every travel plan increases the chances of spreading the virus,” said PAHO’s Assistant Director Dr Jarbas Barbosa during a press briefing.
“It’s critical that everyone continues to practice the public health measures that we know are effective in controlling the spread of the virus such as wearing a mask in public, including in the presence of persons from other households, and keeping a safe distance from others,” Barbosa added.
He urged the public to also avoid the “3Cs” – spaces that are closed, crowded or involve close contact with others, and wash their hands often.
“These measures are especially important as we enter the holiday season when communities congregate to mark religious celebrations and generations of families come together to give thanks,” Barbosa said.
“PAHO and WHO (World Health Organization) recommend that countries experiencing widespread transmission of the virus should seriously consider postponing or reducing mass gatherings,” he added.
“This is not the time to be hosting any large gatherings.
“Each country, city, and community should base decisions about hosting public events on the latest available data – especially data that show where the virus is spreading and whether health systems have enough capacity to keep up with cases,” Barbosa continued.
He warned that even smaller indoor gatherings 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.”