WHO asks countries to wait two weeks before lifting restrictions

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries that are considering easing restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 to wait at least two weeks before doing so.

WHO says the time is important to evaluate the impact of such changes, in order to prevent a possible second wave of new infections.

The U.N. agency said that the world stands at a “pivotal juncture” in the pandemic and that “speed, scale, and equity must be our guiding principles” when deciding what measures are necessary.

WHO also urged countries to implement comprehensive public health measures to maintain a sustainable steady state of low-level or no transmission, and also to prepare its surge capacity to react rapidly to control any spread.

“To reduce the risk of new outbreaks, measures should be lifted in a phased, step-wise manner based on an assessment of the epidemiological risks and socioeconomic benefits of lifting restrictions on different workplaces, educational institutions, and social activities…,” the WHO said.

“Ideally there would be a minimum of 2 weeks (corresponding to the incubation period of COVID-19) between each phase of the transition, to allow sufficient time to understand the risk of new outbreaks and to respond appropriately,” it added.

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