WHO Europe is encouraging governments to enforce measures which limit alcohol consumption as it is associated with a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to Covid-19
It said that at times of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence.
As part of its public health response to Covid-19, WHO has worked with partners to develop a factsheet which addresses myths and provides guidance during the pandemic: 'Alcohol and COVID-19: what you need to know'.
Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system
This is because fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the Covid-19 virus.
It added that alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes. Therefore, people should minimise their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carina Ferreira-Borges, Programme Manager, Alcohol and Illicit Drugs Programme, WHO/Europe, said: “Alcohol is consumed in excessive quantities in the European Region, and leaves too many victims. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we should really ask ourselves what risks we are taking in leaving people under lockdown in their homes with a substance that is harmful both in terms of their health and the effects of their behaviour on others, including violence."
WHO said that existing rules and regulations to protect health and reduce harm caused by alcohol, such as restricting access, should be upheld and even reinforced during the Covid-19 pandemic and emergency situations; while any relaxation of regulations or their enforcement should be avoided.