Countries that are going into the winter months will have to choose between having bars and nightclubs open, or schools in session, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said Tuesday.
“We have to sustain pressure on this virus, we have to reduce transmission at community level in order to lower the risk to those older and vulnerable people and to maintain an environment in which our children can continue to attend school,” Ryan said during a briefing in Geneva.
“So, what is more important? Are children back at school? Are the nightclubs and the bars open?” he said. “I think these are decisions that we have to make in coming into the winter months.”
Since there isn’t yet a vaccine, in order to keep children in school and protect older and vulnerable people, there is no alternative to sustained surveillance, test and trace, quick results, cluster investigation, isolation of cases and quarantining of contacts, Ryan said.
“I’m sorry to be boring, and I’m sorry to keep saying this over and over and over again, but there are no alternatives,” he said. “This is what we must do.”
“If we are to serve our children and those older and vulnerable people in our population who might die this winter in these countries, then we must sustain these other activities and these cannot be sustained without government commitment to do this and society’s commitment to participate and be part of this,” he said.