WHO warns young people are driving Covid-19 spread

180820 Takeshi Kasai AP
Dr Takeshi Kasai made the warning in a virtual briefing. Credit: AP

The World Health Organisation has repeated warnings that young people are driving the spread of coronavirus globally.

Many are unaware they’re infected, WHO director for the Western Pacific Dr Takeshi Kasai said, which increases the risk to the vulnerable.

The warning comes after police in England reported responding to a surge in unlicensed music events in recent weeks during warm weather, breaching coronavirus regulations on large gatherings.

Dr Kasai told a virtual briefing: “The epidemic is changing, people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving its spread.

“Many are unaware they’re infected – with very mild symptoms or none at all. This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others.

“This increases the risk of spill-overs to the most vulnerable: the elderly, the sick, people in long-term care, people who live in densely-populated urban areas and under-served rural areas.”

He added that health systems must be strengthened in order to “identify cases, isolate and treat them, and trace and quarantine their contacts”.

“We must redouble efforts to stop the virus from moving into vulnerable communities,” he said.

Global cases are now just shy of 22 million and expected to pass the milestone within a matter of days, at most.

The US has by far the highest number of cases with nearly 5.5 million. Brazil and India follow with 3.4 million and 2.7 million respectively.

No other country has more than a million total confirmed cases yet. The UK has little more than 320,000 cases.