The head of the World Health Organization on Friday warned of a “deadly resurgence” if restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus are lifted too soon -- as political leaders across the globe begin to consider re-opening daily life in their countries.
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“I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone,” WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference. “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,” he said, adding that WHO was working with countries on strategies for “gradually and safely easing restrictions.”
Tedros said earlier in his remarks that there had been a slowing of infections in some of the hardest-hit European countries such as Italy and Spain. At the same time, he said there was an “alarming” acceleration in other countries -- and highlighted African rural areas in particular.
The WHO chief, who has come under fire for his agency’s alleged pro-China stance, has issued a series of warnings over the crisis. Earlier this week he warned world leaders against “politicizing” the crisis.Video
"My short message is please quarantine politicizing COVID – the unity of your country will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus. Without unity we assure you even any country that may have a better system will be in more trouble. That’s our message," he said.
His remarks came on the same day as President Trump said he wants to re-open the United States “as soon as possible.”
"This country was meant to be open and vibrant and great,” he said.
The president added that he would formally convene an "Opening our Country" task force April 14 that will be comprised of doctors and business leaders. According to Trump, the second, smaller task force would "include names that you have a lot of respect for."
Trump said he would listen to experts about when to re-open the economy, including health experts -- and acknowledged that there was a risk in opening the country too early.
“I listen to them about everything,” the president said, adding: “We’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going be healthy. We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again.”