Speaking at the media briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, World Health Organisation Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu provided three key questions that countries should ask before considering lifting lockdowns.
According to the director-general, over the past week several countries have started lifting stay at home orders and other restrictions in a phased way. This was done due to the socio-economic impact the stringent lockdowns have had on countries.
However, he recommended a gradual lifting of lockdown in order to safeguard citizens.
“… to protect lives and livelihoods, a slow, steady, lifting of lockdowns is key to both stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified,” Dr. Ghebreyesu said.
Over the weekend, further guidance was published that outlines the key questions. “These three questions can help determine whether a lockdown can be released slowly or not,” Dr. Ghebreyesu noted.
Here are the following questions outlined by WHO:
- Is the epidemic under control?
- Is the healthcare system able to cope with a resurgence of cases that may arise after relaxing certain measures?
- Isthe public health surveillance system able to detect and manage the cases and their contacts, and identify a resurgence of cases?
However, with three positive answers, Dr. Ghebreyesu cautioned that releasing lockdowns is both complex and difficult.
WHO is working closely with governments to ensure that key public health measures remain in place to deal with the challenge of lifting lockdowns.