Young people are not immune from coronavirus and must avoid socialising and communicating it to older, more vulnerable people, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
The choices made by the young can be “the difference between life and death for someone else”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Over 11,000 patients have died from the Covid-19 respiratory illness worldwide.
Nearly 250,000 patients have tested positive overall.
The WHO chief’s remarks follow reports that young people in many countries are being complacent about health warnings, because of the greater susceptibility to the virus among older patients.
Speaking at an online news conference from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Mr Tedros said: “Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared.”
He added: “I have a message for young people: You are not invincible, this virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”
Mr Tedros welcomed developments from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated, which reported no new cases on Thursday.
He said this provided “hope for the rest of the world that even the most severe situation can be turned around”.