Young people could be spreading coronavirus amid fears of second wave, World Health Organization warns

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - 2020/07/25: The tram area full with people. Crowded with tourists shopping on the streets and the Dam full of visitors with one-way traffic in the Kalverstraat, one tries to keep one and a half meters away but it is difficult amid the coronavirus threats. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
There have been reports of cases of the virus among younger people rising in areas in the Netherlands (Picture: Getty)

Young people may be spreading coronavirus which could lead to a second wave, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Dr Hans Kluge, Europe regional director for the WHO, said on Wednesday younger age groups may be causing COVID-19 to climb in different places in the world.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “An increasing number of countries are experiencing localised outbreaks and a resurge in cases.

“What we do know, is that it’s a consequence of change in human behaviour.

“We’re receiving reports from several health authorities of a higher proportion of new infections among young people.

“So for me, the call is loud enough to rethink how to better involve young people.”

Dr Kluge said he understood young people wanted to enjoy the summer as he has two daughters but added they had a responsibility towards people around them, including their parents and grandparents.

He said younger people could be ignoring social distancing which is leading to spikes in cases.

There have been reports of infections among younger people rising in areas in France and the Netherlands.

With a further 89 UK covid victims in the last 24hrs, bringing the total victims to 43,995 during the Coronavirus pandemic, shops continue opening along London's Oxford Street where social distance and hygiene advice towers are located at the only entrance to the underground station, where shoppers and users of public transport observe restriction rules by putting on face masks, on 2nd July 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
London's Oxford Street where social distance and hygiene advice towers are located (Picture: Getty)

Prof James Naismith FRS FMedSci, Director, Rosalind Franklin Institute, also said authorities were detecting more cases in younger age groups.

He added: “We and other countries are detecting young people with COVID-19, in February we never noticed them.

“It seems likely that the virus spreads in this group first but with few symptoms and little illness.

“We know the virus will spread in time from young to old / more vulnerable where we will see hospitalisation, severe illness and death.”

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