WHO warns gym-goers about the risk of infection
Aden-Jay Wood

As gyms being to reopen in countries across Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been quick to warn those returning to the gym to be careful if a local outbreak occurs in their area.

Speaking during a press briefing, Michael Ryan, an executive director at the WHO, said: "If there's no disease in the community, then the gym is safe."

But he did have this warning: "I do, though, think in areas with intense community transmission, gyms are probably... If I was in that situation, I would probably keep gyms closed."

He added: "You put people together in a closed environment, particularly where they engage in strenuous activity that may involve them producing droplets, heavy breathing, shouting, whatever else. Gyms have been shown in this outbreak to be associated with higher levels of transmission."


Gyms across Europe have been shut for months during the COVID-19 lockdown. /AFP

Gyms across Europe have been shut for months during the COVID-19 lockdown. /AFP


Many gyms across Europe have implemented strict social distancing rules in a bid to keep their businesses open after many months with no revenue during the lockdown period. 

Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, echoed Ryan's views on gyms, but also added that if they remained open during local outbreaks, then people should use their initiative to find alternative ways of exercising.

"There are other ways that you can exercise. It's really important to stay physically fit. And so there are different things that people can do – they can run outside or they can do an exercise class in their homes and in different ways to to keep physically fit," she added.

Video editing: Pedro Duarte


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