KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday reminded countries to take a gradual approach to ending lockdowns. They must also consider locations where there are vulnerable populations or risk “a spark in a situation that turns into a fire very very quickly.”
The spread of the coronavirus in homes and facilities for the elderly, and among prison and migrant populations were examples cited by WHO’s Covid-19 team leader, Michael Ryan.
“We need to makes sure that the reproductive number or R nought of the epidemic in any individual country does not jump up because of easing of certain measures.”
“Countries must be ready, if necessary, to put back in place some of those public health and social measures if needed, should the disease jump back up.”
The WHO recognised the difficulty for governments to maintain lockdowns during the pandemic for social, psychological and economic reasons.
“So we are very anxious that we can move to a situation where the disease can be kept under control with less severe measures.”
“These are very difficult judgements for governments to make but they must be done carefully and with eyes wide open,” emphasised Ryan.