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WHO issues new guidance on outdoor events

WHO issues new guidance on outdoor events
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The World Health Organization (WHO) is issuing updated guidance for large events during the coronavirus pandemic and offering recommendations that could stem its spread.

Recommendations by the health body included staggering arrivals, holding events outdoors if possible and restricting entry to healthy people, CNN reported.

The organization reportedly conceded in its guidance that suspending large events is not a realistic long-term solution, stating that since mass gatherings "have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated.”

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Event organizers and local health officials should conduct risk assessments ahead of any gatherings and, once they decide to go ahead with an event, should consider steps such as increased frequency of transport, designated seating and adjusted venue capacity, the WHO guidelines state. The organization further recommended either advising those at particular risk for the virus, such as people over 65 or with pre-existing conditions, to stay away from events or, where possible, for the venue to make special arrangements.

The organization further recommended limiting duration of events and providing isolation facilities on-site for anyone who becomes sick.

During the pandemic, which has forced most large events to cancel or move online, organizers have been forced to find solutions that reduce the risk of the virus's spread, particularly as some venues reopen. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week announced most that all but five of the state’s 254 counties would be allowed to hold outdoor professional sporting events at 25 percent capacity.  

“If you want a prediction, my prediction is yes, we are gonna have college football beginning as scheduled ...with at least some level of fans in stands,” Abbott said Friday in an interview with KXAN-TV in Austin.