WHO warns, lifting lockdown restrictions too quickly can lead to resurgence of COVID-19 cases


NATIONAL | April 11, 2020:

World Health Organization Today issued a dire warning that prematurely lifting lockdown restrictions that have kept more than half the world's population in lockdown could spark a deadly resurgence of the disease.

The global coronavirus death toll crossed 100,000 yesterday as Easter celebrations around the world began in near-empty churches with billions of people stuck indoors to halt the pandemic's worldwide march.

The extraordinary measures from New York to New Delhi to Naples have seen businesses and schools closed in a desperate bid to halt the virus's relentless spread and the International Monetary Fund said the world now faces the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

More than 1.6 million people have been infected around the world and the death toll hit 100,661 on Friday — nearly 70 percent in hard-hit Europe.


But even as deaths and infections continued their upward climb, officials in the United States and Europe expressed some hope the curve could be starting to flatten.

Weekend Easter celebrations that would normally see churches around the world packed with parishioners were replaced by an eerie emptiness as lockdown orders kept millions from leaving their homes.

Even such hallowed traditions as the pope's Easter message are being revamped — Pope Francis will live-stream from the seclusion of his private library. We have to respond to our confinement with all our creativity, the pontiff said. We can either get depressed and alienated… or we can get creative.            

This week, China started to ease months-old lockdown orders in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December.

The World Health Organization on Friday issued a stern warning about lifting lockdown measures.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone, At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence. The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.

In some countries, glimmers of hope may be emerging. In Spain, France and Italy the number of patients in intensive care keeps falling.

The fallout is shaking every corner of the financial world, and the IMF, which has $1 trillion in lending capacity, said it was responding to calls from 90 countries for emergency financing.

We anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression, said IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, urging governments to provide lifelines to businesses and households.

And major oil producers except Mexico agreed to cut output after a dramatic slump in demand caused by the virus, exacerbated by a Saudi-Russia price war, sent prices crashing to a near two-decade low.