Sat | Nov 28, 2020

WHO says national lockdowns can be avoided

Published:Monday | October 26, 2020 | 2:20 PM
In this Thursday, June 11, 2009 file photo, the logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, file)

GENEVA — The World Health Organization says national lockdowns could be avoided to fight the latest surge of coronavirus cases if people are willing to make sacrifices and “if everyone plays their part.”

At a press briefing on Monday, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 said she hoped countries would use other tools to stop transmission, including strengthening their surveillance, testing and contact tracing systems.

Van Kerkhove said people should take personal responsibility for everyday decisions, like whether or not they should go out to crowded places, avoiding closed settings and postponing social gatherings.

WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan noted that 46% of all global COVID-19 cases last week were reported in Europe.

“There’s no question that the European region is an epicentre of disease right now,” he said.

Ryan said that the normally open European Union borders might need to be shut down to “take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic.”

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