The World Health Organisation has urged Europeans to wear face masks at all times, including during Christmas family reunions.

WHO said that the continent is at high risk of a new wave of coronavirus infections following a general loosening of restrictions over the festive period.

In a piece of advice very few people are likely to heed, given the season, WHO said that family gatherings should be held outside whenever possible, and if held inside face masks should be worn and social distancing practiced.

“It may feel awkward to wear masks and practise physical distancing when around friends and family, but doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy,” WHO said.

“Vulnerable people and older friends or relatives may find it very difficult to ask loved ones to stay away physically, regardless of the anxieties or concerns they may have. Consider what others may be feeling and the difficult decisions they will be facing.”

FILE PHOTO: A commuter in Germany wears a face mask while travelling Reuters