Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) chief has warned that lifting coronavirus lockdown measures too early could spark a “deadly resurgence” in infections.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be cautious about easing restrictions, even as some struggle with the economic impact of the pandemic.
Two of Europe’s worst-hit countries, Italy and Spain, are started to relaxing some measures, while their lockdowns continue.
Meanwhile, coronavirus death toll passes 100,000 and there are 1.6 million cases worldwide.
Dr Tedros said while speaking at a virtual news conference in Geneva, that there had been a “welcome slowing” of the epidemics in some European countries.
He said the WHO was working with governments to form strategies for easing restrictions but suggested that this should not be done too soon.
“Lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence,” he warns.
“The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.”
How are Spain and Italy easing curbs?
The Spanish government is preparing to allow some non-essential workers in sectors including factory production and construction to return to their jobs on Monday.
On Friday, Spain recorded 605 days, its lowest in 17 days. Spain has now registered 15,843 deaths related to the virus, the latest figures show.
However, the government has urged people to continue to uphold social distancing rules over the Easter long weekend.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy extended the national lockdown until 3 May, but warned that the gains made so far should not be lost. But the country allows a small proportion of businesses that have been shut since 12 March will be permitted to reopen on Tuesday.
Mr Conte specifically mentioned children’s clothing shops and bookshops, but media reports suggest laundrettes and other services may also be included.
Only pharmacies and grocery stores have been allowed to operate since the lockdown started.
The number of deaths in Italy rose by 570 on Friday, down from a daily figure of 610 the day before, and the number of new cases also slowed slightly to 3,951 from 4,204.
Is the spread of the virus slowing?
Dr Tedros welcomed the apparent slowdown in infections in some European countries on Friday.
US infectious diseases chief Dr Anthony Fauci, concurred that the US was “starting to see the levelling off and coming down” of cases and deaths.
But he warned that despite the “important advance”, it is still not the time to pull back mitigation efforts such as social distancing.
Dr Birx noted that the increase rate appeared to be stabilising in hard-hit regions like New York, New Jersey and the city of Chicago.
She added that the US mortality rate was “significantly less than many of the other countries when you correct them for our population”.
You may read: US death toll passes record 2,000 in a single day