GENEVA, September 15. /TASS/. The long-term health effects of COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus, remain unknown, especially with regard to children who recovered from the disease, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday during a briefing in Geneva.
"We know that children and adolescents can be infected and can infect others. 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," he said. "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."
"More research is needed about the factors that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death among children and adolescents," the WHO chief stressed. "And the potential long-term health effects in those who have been infected remains unknown."
"Although children have largely been spared many of the most severe health effects of the virus, they have suffered in other ways," he continued. "In many countries, essential services for nutrition and immunization have been disrupted, and millions of children have missed out on months of schooling."
"Given the devastating consequences on children, youth and our societies as a whole, the decision to close schools should be a last resort, temporary and only at a local level in areas with intense transmission," the WHO chief noted. "The time during which schools are closed should be used to put in place measures to prevent and respond to transmission when schools reopen. Keeping children safe and at school is not a job for schools alone, or governments alone or families alone. It’s a job for all of us, working together," he underscored.