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Swiss elderly told they can hug children who are under 10, as 'they're not spreaders'


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Children in Switzerland under the age of 10 can once more hug their grandparents after public health officials announced that it was safe to do so.

The change of advice came after Swiss scientists concluded that young children pose no risk of infection from Covid-19 because they do not have the "receptors" targeted by the virus.

Dr Daniel Koch, head of the infectious diseases unit at the Federal Office of Public Health, told a press conference in Bern: "Children are very rarely infected and do not pass on the virus. That is why small children pose no risk to high-risk patients or grandparents."

The new advice only applies to children under the age of 10 who are showing no signs of illness.

Grandparents are still advised to keep their distance from older children, and not to take care of their grandchildren or risk any other form of prolonged exposure.

A study earlier this month showed a nine-year-old British schoolboy who caught the virus on a skiing holiday in France did not pass the virus on to anyone, despite coming into contact with more than 170 people. The French epidemiologists who carried out the research concluded that "children might not be an important source of transmissions of this novel virus".

But British experts questioned the Swiss advice.

Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "We think that children probably transmit Covid-19 less than adults but we need to be absolutely sure."

Irish Independent