Agence France-Presse

Lifting virus lockdowns too shortly may spark lethal resurgence: WHO


Any untimely lifting of restrictions imposed to regulate the COVID-19 pandemic may result in a deadly resurgence of the brand new coronavirus, the World Well being Organisation warned Friday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that whereas some states had been contemplating methods to ease the restrictions which have positioned round half of humanity underneath some type of lockdown, doing so too shortly might be harmful.

“I do know that some international locations are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO needs to see restrictions lifted as a lot as anybody,” he instructed a digital press convention in Geneva.

“On the similar time, lifting restrictions too shortly may result in a lethal resurgence. The way in which down could be as harmful as the best way up if not managed correctly. WHO is working with affected international locations on methods for steadily and safely easing restrictions.”

Tedros spelled out six elements that needs to be thought-about earlier than restrictions might be safely eased. These are:

(a) transmission must be managed;

(b) enough public well being companies made accessible;

(c) outbreak dangers in care houses minimised;

(d) preventative measures imposed in workplaces and faculties;

(e) virus importation dangers managed;

(f) communities made conscious of and engaged within the transition.

The worldwide demise toll has gone over 100,000.

Greater than 1.6 million infections have been recorded globally, based on an AFP tally, for the reason that virus first emerged in China in December.

Tedros welcomed indicators that its unfold was slowing in a few of the hardest-hit international locations in Europe — citing Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

However he additionally warned of an “alarming acceleration” of the virus elsewhere, highlighting Africa, the place he stated it was starting to emerge in rural areas.

“We at the moment are seeing clusters of circumstances and neighborhood unfold in additional than 16 international locations” on the continent, the previous Ethiopian well being minister stated.

“We anticipate extreme hardship for already overstretched well being methods, notably in rural areas, which usually lack the sources of these in cities.” Tedros stated even the international locations with the world’s strongest well being methods had been caught unexpectedly by COVID-19. He urged them to bolster their healthcare provision reasonably than plunge right into a “cycle of panic and neglect”.

In lots of international locations, “we’re now in a section of panic as a result of there may be this harmful, invisible virus which is wreaking havoc,” he stated.

“However that ought to truly lead into asking questions on what to do to strengthen our system. No nation is immune.”

The WHO director-general additionally stated he was notably involved by the massive numbers of circumstances being recorded amongst well being employees — with greater than 10 per cent reportedly contaminated in some nations.

“When well being employees are in danger, we’re all in danger,” he stated.

Tedros stated proof from some international locations, together with China, Italy and america, confirmed that well being employees had been being contaminated outdoors healthcare amenities, of their houses and communities.

Switching to the Ebola outbreak within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he stated a brand new case had been reported, simply three days earlier than a deadline that may have marked the official finish to the lengthy epidemic.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan stated some 2,600 alerts had been nonetheless being investigated daily within the DRC, with hundreds of samples taken each week.

“Possibly that is our lesson for COVID-19: there isn’t a exit technique till you are accountable for the state of affairs, and you have to all the time be prepared to return once more and begin once more,” he stated.

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