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PAHO: Avoid holiday travel, have a Zoom Christmas


The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is continuing to advise people in the Caribbean not to engage in unnecessary travel during the holiday period.

The question of holiday travel in the region was raised today during PAHO's virtual media conference on COVID-19 in the Americas.

Director of PAHO's Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis Dr Marcos Espinal stressed people should only undertake essential travel.

"It is much better to spend many years doing holidays than to have one that could be very negative for all. So if we can spare this one and maybe do a holiday season, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve on Zoom or on Teams or on Skype or any other virtual meetings (I would advise it)."

He said travelling in risky and there had been so many reports about Thanksgiving in the US and said a larger upsurge was expected for the Christmas holiday.

"So while we understand the need to see loved ones and to spend some time, it is important to think also about our own health."

Espinal said many countries in the Caribbean have kept the virus at bay with excellent mitigation actions and prevention actions recommended by PAHO and the World Health Organization.

"But the risk is not yet gone. The vaccine...is not going to come tomorrow. It is going to make more than a year to vaccinate the entire world. So we are not going to back to the normality immediately. And there is an increased risk. So the advice is not to relax the measures, to continue protecting ourselves, to continue avoiding risky situations because this virus can kill...and we have seen so many deaths.

"So let's think before undertaking travelling that is not essential."

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