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

There have been reports of cases of the virus among younger people rising in areas in the Netherlands (Picture: Getty)
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. 

London's Oxford Street where social distance and hygiene advice towers are located (Picture: Getty)
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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