WHO warns of ‘second peak’ in corona infections if restrictions lifted too soon

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LONDON: As the people fed up with confining at homes and are demanding lifting the lockdown restriction, but at the same time, the World Health Organization said on Monday that countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak.

According to media reports, the world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan told an online briefing, noting that while cases are declining in many countries they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa.

Dr. Michael Ryan

The latest figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care on Tuesday show, 36,914 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus and more than 261,000 have tested positive. 

Ryan said epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. There was also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.

“When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months’ time,” Ryan said.

“But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are (going to) get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.”

He said countries in Europe and North America should “continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak.”

Many European countries and US states have taken steps in recent weeks to lift lockdown measures that curbed the spread of the disease but caused severe harm to economies.