The World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said shutting down schools should be a last resort, temporary and only at a local level in intense transmission areas considering the devastating consequences on children, youth, and societies, reported Anadolu Agency.
The WHO Director-General gave the suggestion during an online webinar with UNESCO and UNICEF on considerations for school-related public health measures against the pandemic.
“The data we have show that less than 10% of reported cases and less than 0.2% of deaths are in people under the age of 20,” Ghebreyesus said.
However, he said more research is to conclude about the various factors that raise the risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death among children and youth.
Tedros said that since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the researchers have has been trying to understand how it affects children and what are the potential long-term health effects of the virus on them.
“We know that this virus can kill children, but that children tend to have a milder infection, and there are very few severe cases and deaths from COVID-19 among children and adolescents,” said the WHO chief.
Although children all across the world are rarely found to have developed many of the most severe health effects of the virus, they have suffered in other ways. In many countries, essential services for nutrition and immunization have been stopped, with millions of children missing out on months of schooling.
Tedros said it is time that children get back at school, but before that the authorities should make sure schools are safe and have supportive learning environments for the children.
On Monday, during the launch of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) 2020 report, the WHO chief warned that the world should now get prepared for future global health emergencies.