Geneva: After over 4 million positive COVID-19 cases and over the 2,80,000 death globally, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opines that to protect lives and livelihoods, a slow, steady lifting of lockdowns is key to both stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus.
Speaking at the WHO Global Media briefing on May 11, 2020, Dr Tedros, said, “Over the past week several countries have started lifting stay at home orders and other restrictions in a phased way. Countries put these stringent measures in place, sometimes called lockdowns, in response to intense transmission. Many have used the time to ramp up their ability to test, trace, isolate and care for patients, which is the best way to track the virus, slow the spread and take pressure off the health systems.
He further asserted, “Three key questions countries should ask prior to the lifting of lockdowns: First, is the epidemic under control? Second, is the healthcare system able to cope with a resurgence of cases that may arise after relaxing certain measures? Third, is the public health surveillance system able to detect and manage the cases and their contacts, and identify a resurgence of cases? These three questions can help determine whether a lockdown can be released slowly or not. “
WHO is working closely with governments to ensure that key public health measures remain in place to deal with the challenge of lifting lockdowns.
“Until there is a vaccine, the comprehensive package of measures is our most effective set of tools to tackle the virus,” expressed the Director-General.