Full lockdowns should be a ‘very, very last resort’ and can be averted, WHO’s Europe chief says

A restaurant bar close to the Eiffel Tower on the last day earlier than new Covid-19 restrictions power bars and cafes within the capital to shut for a minimal of two weeks on October 05, 2020 in Paris, France.

Kiran Ridley | Getty Images News | Getty Images

As Europe introduces extra and extra restrictive measures to curb the unfold of the coronavirus, the chief of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) workplace within the area has stated that full-scale lockdowns should be a “very, very last resort.”

“A proportional and targeted response is the way forward. Measures or tightening up in many countries in Europe … are appropriate and necessary responses to what the data is telling us,” Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, stated Thursday.

“It is never too late (to tighten measures) but of course, definitely, we are concerned. In general, this is the time to step up the restrictive measures … with lockdowns as a very, very last resort. We know much better than in March what can, and needs, to be done.”

Kluge cited fashions that advised a far larger and generalized adherence to mask-wearing and strict controls on social gathering in each public and personal areas may save as much as 281,000 lives by February 2021 throughout 53 nations that come beneath WHO Europe’s regional workplace.

“The pandemic won’t reverse its course on its own, but we will,” he stated, praising strikes by governments round Europe to tighten Covid-19 restrictions. “We need to be uncompromising,” he stated as he referred to as for a “systematic and generalized” adherence to the essential measures of mask-wearing and social distancing.

“These measures are meant to keep us all ahead of the curve and to flatten its course … Any further escalation of measures would be the result of failure in complying with the preceding ones, it is therefore up to us to accept them while they are still relatively easy to follow,” he stated.

Asked whether or not he’s for or in opposition to nationwide lockdowns, he reiterated that the pandemic of right this moment “is not the same as the pandemic of yesterday” each by way of the transmission dynamic, but in addition within the ways in which governments can deal with it.

In March, lockdown was “a shutdown,” he stated, with no outings, colleges shut and motion curtailed. But “today lockdown means a very different thing, it means a step-by-step escalation of proportionate, targeted and time-limited measures,” he stated.

Any nationwide lockdowns should take into account direct dangers and “collateral damage” related to the pandemic, such because the psychological well being impression, gender-based home violence and the impression on college students.

Great concern

Europe now has over 7.2 million confirmed instances of the virus, in response to the World Health Organization (WHO), and hospitalizations are rising at a worrying price.

“The full winter surge continues to unfold in Europe with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths. The evolving epidemiological situation in Europe raises great concern,” Kluge stated.

“Daily numbers of cases are up, hospital admissions are up … the region has registered the highest weekly incidence of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with almost 700,000 cases reported.”

In the last 24 hours, France has declared a public well being state of emergency, the U.Okay. is approaching a second nationwide lockdown and Germany has launched a raft of recent guidelines in an effort to decrease the an infection price.

WHO’s Kluge insisted that the state of affairs dealing with Europe now was not the identical because the one it confronted again in March.

“Does it mean we are back to mid-March? No, we are not. Although we record two to three-times more cases per day compared to the April peak, we still observe five times less deaths, and a doubling time in hospital admissions still two-to-three times longer (than in March).”

In the meantime, the virus has not modified, “it has not become more nor less dangerous,” he stated.

He added that the state of affairs may deteriorate if the the virus spreads again amongst older age teams.

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