Restrictions on population movement imposed in connection with the coronavirus pandemic should be lifted gradually to maintain control over the epidemiological situation. This was stated on Monday at a briefing in Geneva by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adanom Ghebreyesus.
“COVID-19 disease spreads very quickly, and recedes much more slowly,” he said. “This means that control measures should be lifted very slowly while maintaining control. This cannot happen all at once,” the head of the WHO stressed.
He noted that now “some countries are thinking about when they can lift these restrictions.” At the same time, other countries “decide whether and when to introduce them.” The WHO believes that “these decisions should be primarily based on the protection of human health.” The head of the organization stressed that restrictions should be lifted only if appropriate measures are taken simultaneously in the health sector, including identifying contacts between sick people and healthy ones. As for the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people by states that have not yet imposed them, these measures may be “impractical” if the country has a significant poor population, refugees, and migrants who already live in cramped conditions and have limited means and opportunities to access health care.
This is the first such pandemic, the head of the who said, adding: “We are constantly learning and adapting our strategy based on the latest available information.” WHO will publish an updated strategy on April 14, where countries can learn information that will help them make the right decision. The new strategy includes some tips. In particular, countries are recommended to isolate patients, conduct testing, and take preventive measures in the workplace and schools.
At the moment, it is known that the coronavirus is “spreading rapidly” and is “10 times more deadly than the virus that caused the pandemic in 2009,” said Tedros Adanom Ghebreyesus. Also, the new coronavirus is “more easily transmitted in crowded places,” such as nursing homes.
The authorities of some European countries announced the easing of the quarantine. Factories will reopen in Spain on Monday, and some stores will open in Italy on Tuesday. The opening of schools and the partial lifting of restrictions on the movement of citizens was also announced by Denmark, one of the first countries in Europe to introduce them.