A Dire Warning From WHO as Countries Rush to Reopen

Easing restrictions could cause coronavirus resurgence: World Health Organization
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2020 4:47 AM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2020 6:47 AM CDT
WHO Has Dire Warning as Countries Rush to Reopen
People wearing sanitary masks to protect against COVID-19 browse through a bookstore in Rome, Monday, April 20, 2020.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again. “This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific. He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus and the lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function, the AP reports.

Despite concerns from health officials, some US states on Monday announced aggressive reopening plans, while Boeing and at least one other US heavy-equipment manufacturer resumed production. Elsewhere around the world, step-by-step reopenings were underway in Europe, where the crisis has begun to ebb in places such as Italy, Spain, and Germany. Australia said Tuesday that it will allow the resumption of non-urgent surgeries next week as health authorities grow more confident that hospitals there won’t be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. The reopenings come as politicians grow weary of soaring unemployment numbers and the prospect of economic depression. Asian shares followed Wall Street lower on Tuesday after US oil futures plunged below zero because of a worldwide glut as factories, automobiles, and airplanes sit idled.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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