WHO warns against prematurely lifting restrictions

RSTV Bureau
File photo: World Health Organization logo

File photo: World Health Organization logo

Even as the total number of cases of COVID-19 crossed 1.6 million globally, the World Health Organisation is warning countries to be cautious about lifting restrictions.

Addressing a virtual press conference from Geneva, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone, but at the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence.”

He said there had been a “welcome slowing” of epidemics in Italy, Germany, Spain and France, even as an “alarming acceleration” has been seen in other nations, including community transmission in 16 countries of Africa.

Since the outbreak, WHO has been working with various governments to form strategies for easing restrictions, but pointed that lifting of lockdown should not be done too soon.

“The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly. No country is immune and no country can claim that it has a strong public health system or a strong health system,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.

India is also expected to take a decision on the issue of extending its 21-day lockdown which ends on April 14.

In a meeting with floor leaders of political parties in Parliament on April 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated that the lockdown may have to be extended. Several state governments, district administrations and experts have also asked for an extension of the lockdown, even as some including Odisha and Punjab announced its extension.