WHO urges caution as EU states soften lockdowns

Sallie Anderson

As the variety of coronavirus infections in Europe reaches almost one million cases, countries must beware when thinking about relieving limiting steps, alerted the European director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge, on Thursday (16 April).

In the past 10 days the variety of cases reported in Europe has actually almost doubled, what indicates around 50 percent of the global problem of Covid-19 pandemic remains in Europe – where more than 84,000 people have actually passed away.

“The storm clouds of this pandemic still hang heavily over the European region,” Kluge alerted, including that the shift duration to leave lockdown and other limiting steps must not be ignored.

Considered That some countries in Europe – such as Germany, Denmark or Austria – are preparing to alleviate limiting steps, the WHO has actually prepared a set of standards, with 6 requirements.

Countries thinking about relieving steps must ensure that the variety of infections is declining and its health systems can handle coronavirus cases and possible break outs – while ensuring their ability for monitoring and contact-tracing.

The WHO likewise suggests thinking about the financial and social steps required in the approaching months and the issues of the basic public, as well as making sure the security of the most susceptible people “to leave no one behind”.

“There is no fast trackback to normality and if a country cannot ensure that the six criteria can be met, I urge them to re-think the easing of restrictions,” Kluge stated.

Previously today, the European Commission provided a set of standards for member states – after Austria and Denmark revealed they would start to open little stores and schools.

‘ The brand-new regular’

WHO senior consultant Natasha Azzopardi Muscat stated the shift will not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ technique, as countries have various epidemiological circumstances.

“However, it is very clear that this transition is not going back to normal but moving forward into a new normal,” she stated.

How this ‘brand-new regular’ will look like is still uncertain. “Although some countries seem to be ready, we don’t know what is going to happen as the measures are eased,” stated Azzopardi Muscat.

More and more countries are establishing mobile applications for contact tracing as a method to leave limiting steps, however the WHO alerted they are not a “magic bullet” – and must be incorporated within the public health method.

” We comprehend that people can have a number of issues about personal privacy and information security [so] it is essential that such apps are voluntary and have a really clear and basic permission type,” she stated.

Furthermore, the WHO does not advise making use of face masks for the basic public, due to the commonly reported scarcities.

Yet, some countries such as Luxembourg and Austria have actually made them required for particular areas.

Trump’s financing cut

After United States president Donald Trump revealed a stop to financing for the WHO, Kluge stated that the organization invited the assistance revealed by the entire European area and other countries worldwide.

“We are looking at the financial situation. But for the time, we are in the middle of the crisis so what we focus on is to save lives,” Kluge stated, including that this would not be the excellent minute to cut financing.

The United States is WHO top’s donor and it contributes annual with over EUR3677 m, according to the local director.

“The US has been a long-standing friend and we hope it will continue to support WHO,” he concluded.

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