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WHO says mass gatherings pose continuous risk for spread of Covid-19

Author: Emmanuel J Akile | Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured, has been accused by Ethiopia's army chief of trying to get weapons for the dissident Tigray region | File photo

The Director-General of the World Health Organization says mass gatherings continue to pose a risk of the spread of coronavirus.

 

In March, President Salva Kiir issued an order banning all social gatherings such as sport, religious events, social or cultural events, among others.

In April, some leaders from Upper Nile State appeared to have violated the public gathering and social distancing order by convening a press conference in Juba.

They include former governors of Upper Nile state, Dak Duop Bichiok and Simon Kun Puoch, and also four former governors of the defunct Latjor and Maiwut states.

The Inspector-General of Police was also seen defying the presidential order.

In the capital, Juba, people can still be spotted attending funerals, playing dominoes, and cards among others.

Dr. Tedros Adhanhom, the W.H.O director-general, is now calling for respect and adherence to social events.

“During this pandemic, we have seen that mass gatherings have the potential to act as super spreading events,” Adhanhom said the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday.

To assist groups planning such gatherings, WHO released updated guidance to help organizations determine how and when mass gatherings can safely resume.

WHO has also updated its risks assessment tool so that organizations can score each risk factor and control measure, which results in an overall risk score.

Adhanhom said WHO has worked closely with several sporting organizations including FIFA, UEFA, Formula 1 and religious groups to ensure social distancing.

“While we all want sporting events to restart, we want to make sure that it is done as safely as possible,” he said.

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