The WHO’s Europe chief said families should postpone the festivities this year, or consider celebrating outside. Dr Hans Kluge, who is regional director for the continent, said Christmas 2020 will be “a different Christmas but that does not mean it cannot be a merry one”.
He said: “Cherish the festive season with those close to you.
“If it’s a large gathering of vulnerable people, you may postpone that gathering until you can safely gather.
“Despite the cold, if local restrictions permit, gather outside with loved ones for picnics in the park.”
But his suggestion of celebrating outside in the height of winter has been ridiculed by social media users.
One person wrote: “Because a picnic in the park in winter is really going to go down well.
“What a bunch of morons.
“Bet none of them will be sitting in a park on Christmas Day.”
Another user said: “So these scientists who suggest having a Christmas Day picnic outdoors.
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Another said: “The European chief!!! Is he aware that Europe is in the northern hemisphere which means we are in winter at Christmas!!!
“How do these people think up this nonsense?
“Let alone allow it to leave their lips and say it out loud. Absolutely ridiculous!!”
Last year temperatures plunged to -3C in parts of UK on Christmas Day.
Boris Johnson is believed to be considering easing restrictions on indoor socialising for five days from December 24, to allow people to celebrate with their families.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We are looking at ways to ensure that people can spend time with close family over Christmas at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year.”