Young people around the world must face the reality that the novel coronavirus attacks them in large numbers, not only older generations, UN health chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

You are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general said at a Geneva press conference.

The pandemic, which has resulted in more than 210,000 confirmed infections and 9,000, reported deaths requires not only cooperation among countries but also among generations, Tedros stressed.

I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus, the WHO chief said, commending young people who are protecting elders by protecting themselves.

Tedros also sent out a message to the millions who are forced to stay indoors as their authorities have imposed various forms of lockdowns.

Confined people should take extra care to eat healthy food, to avoid tobacco and alcohol, and to take good care of their bodies and minds.

If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs, the Ethiopian UN health chief said.

Keeping in contact with family and friends, and reaching out to neighbors is another way to protect one’s well-being, according to Tedros.

“Compassion is a medicine,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, UN agencies warned that the pandemic creates risks for billions of people who cannot wash their hands properly, and for hundreds of millions of children who have to cope without school lunches as education facilities are shuttered.

While hand hygiene is known to be a key weapon against the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, 3 billion people around the world have no adequate access to water or soap to wash their hands, the United Nations said in Geneva, citing WHO and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data.

Tedros recently stressed the importance of clean hands in a video tutorial in which he carefully lathers both sides of his palms and between his fingers, while paying special attention to his thumbs and nails.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said that 860 million children and youths are currently out of school and university because of the pandemic.

Because of the COVID pandemic, some 300 million primary school children are now missing out on school meals on which they depend, WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told a press conference in Geneva.

The UN food agency is trying to help affected families by providing them with take-home lunches, food deliveries, vouchers or cash aid.

Source: dpa/MIA