The director general of the World Health Organization warned of a “deadly resurgence” in coronavirus if restrictions are lifted too quickly.
Speaking at a news briefing on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “In the past week, we’ve seen a welcome slowing in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, like Spain, Italy, Germany and France.”
“At the same time,” he added, “we’ve seen an alarming acceleration in other countries.”
“I want to take a moment to highlight Africa, where we are seeing the spread of the virus to rural areas. We are now seeing clusters of cases and community spread in more than 16 countries.
“We anticipate severe hardship for already overstretched health systems, particularly in rural areas, which normally lack the resources of those in cities.”
“I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions,” Ghebreyesus said. “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.”
“We are particularly concerned by the large numbers of infections reported among health workers,” he noted, claiming that “In some countries there are reports of more than 10 percent of health workers being infected.”
“This is an alarming trend.”
He also mentioned “a new United Nations Supply Chain Task Force” that would “coordinate and scale up the procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment, lab diagnostics and oxygen to the countries that need it most.”
“Every month, we will need to ship at least 100 million medical masks and gloves; up to 25 million N95 respirators, gowns and face-shields; up to 2.5 million diagnostic tests; and large quantities of oxygen concentrators and other equipment for clinical care.”