Coronavirus: Santa Claus is immune and will deliver presents this Christmas, says WHO

WHO officials say they had a 'brief chat' with Father Christmas, who is 'very busy' preparing for the big night

Dana Friedman, 61, poses for a portrait in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., December 9, 2020. Friedman, an attorney by trade started appearing as Santa Claus in 2001 for first responders and their families after 9/11 and has continued the tradition for both charity and private events. Friedman urges people take time this year to appreciate the beauty and good in the world. "While you're at it, do something nice for a total stranger," he said. "But don't let them know you did it ... Let them pay it forward in their own way." REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs     SEARCH "GLOBAL SANTA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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Santa Claus is immune to coronavirus and will be able to travel the world and deliver presents this Christmas, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday after having a "brief chat" with him.

The pandemic has placed many countries under lockdown and imposed strict social distancing measures that had children around the world worrying about how the virus could affect Father Christmas's annual activities, the organisation said.

Santa, who is older and overweight, would appear to be at higher risk of catching the virus. "I understand the concern for Santa, because he is of older age," WHO's lead on the crisis, Maria Van Kerkhove, told a media briefing.

Santa Claus is immune to virus, can fly and deliver gifts – WHO

Santa Claus is immune to virus, can fly and deliver gifts – WHO

"I can tell you that Santa Claus is immune to this virus," said Ms Van Kerkhove, who has two young sons.

"We had a brief chat with him and he is doing very well and Mrs Claus is doing very well, and they are very busy right now."

She was responding to a question on whether the fictional figure, known for his big belly and white beard, might be at heightened risk of spreading the virus as he makes his rounds.

During the briefing she said that world leaders have relaxed quarantine measures that are hampering global travel and would allow Santa and his flying reindeer to enter their airspace and deliver presents.

But Ms Van Kerkhove took the opportunity to stress that children should still be sure to follow social distancing guidelines.

"I think it is very important that all the children of the world understand that physical distancing by Santa Claus and also of the children themselves must be strictly enforced," she said.

Children must go to bed early on Christmas Eve and listen to their parents, she said.

Last month, Dr Anthony Fauci, the US's leading infectious disease expert said: "Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity."

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