This handout image provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 22, 2020 in Geneva shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending the 147th session of the WHO Executive Board held virtually by videoconference, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Christopher Black / World Health Organization / AFP
This handout image provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 22, 2020 in Geneva shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending the 147th session of the WHO Executive Board held virtually by videoconference, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Christopher Black / World Health Organization / AFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by breastfeeding even when a nursing mother has contracted the virus.

According to a statement by the health body on its website on Wednesday, nursing mothers are urged to continue breastfeeding their babies in spite of the pandemic.

It stressed that while researchers are testing breast milk from mothers with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, it is safer to breastfeed than to give infants formula milk.

“WHO and UNICEF encourage women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19,” the statement said.

“While researchers continue to test breast milk from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, current evidence indicates that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding or by giving breast milk that has been expressed by a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.”

The body restated that “the numerous benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of illness associated with the virus.”

Global COVID-19 cases have now surged to nearly 5.7 million, with more than 354,000 deaths.

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