• Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022
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Coronavirus: WHO sets 6 conditions for ending lockdown

  • Published at 05:58 am April 18th, 2020
France toughens lockdown penalties as coronavirus kills medic
File Photo: A view shows an empty Place de la Concord in Paris as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus spread in France on March 22, 2020 Reuters

The goal is to taper restrictions so that governments -- in communities, cities and nations -- can avoid a cycle of new Covid-19 outbreaks

While billions of people across the world are going through hardship being confined to their homes or living under lockdown orders due to coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) experts have come up with a new guideline advising governments on when to ease the restrictions. 

The question of when to lift the shutdowns has become a major issue now as economic output has remained stalled in many countries, reports npr.org. 

"One of the main things we've learned in the past months about COVID-19 is that the faster all cases are found, tested, isolated & cared for, the harder we make it for the virus to spread," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus via Twitter. 

"This principle will save lives & mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic."

The international public health agency, WHO, said the coronavirus has killed tens of thousands of people and also reshaped society and disrupted daily life for people around the world. 

The pandemic has caused massive losses for big companies along with small businesses, and forced millions of people out of work.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), at least 82 countries have some form of lockdown in place while full national lockdowns remain uncommon. 

In its most recent analysis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the global economy is now predicted to shrink by 3% this year. 

Six conditions

WHO officials said despite all the personal and economic pain the coronavirus has caused, it is much too early to return to normalcy in many places. 

And because any premature attempts to restart economies could trigger secondary peaks in Covid-19 cases, they warned that the process must be deliberate and widely coordinated.

WHO Director-General Tedros said any government that wants to start lifting restrictions must first meet six conditions:

1. Disease transmission is under control

2. Health systems are able to "detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact"

3. Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes

4. Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures

5. The risk of importing new cases "can be managed"

6. Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal

'You can't replace lockdown with nothing'

At a recent briefing, Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, said: "You can't replace lockdown with nothing."

Stressing the importance of a well-informed and committed population, he said: "We are going to have to change our behaviours for the foreseeable future."

Even in instances where governments can lift some lockdown conditions, Mike Ryan said: "Health workers are going to have to continue to have protective equipment and we're going to have to continue to have intensive care beds on standby, because as we come out of these lockdown situations, we may see a jump back up in cases."

The goal is to taper restrictions so that governments -- in communities, cities and nations -- can avoid a cycle of new Covid-19 outbreaks.

"We don't want to lurch from lockdown to nothing to lockdown to nothing," Ryan said. 

"We need to have a much more stable exit strategy that allows us to move carefully and persistently away from lockdown."

The fast spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China's Wuhan, has claimed 154,268 lives and infected 2,250,945 people across the world till 11:20am on Saturday, according to worldometer.

As many as 571,268 people have recovered from Covid-19, a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, which has spread to 210 countries and territories across the planet.

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