WHO warns of “second spike” in areas with falling coronavirus

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Michael Ryan, World Health Organization (WHO) health emergency program, speaks at a press conference following an emergency committee meeting on the spread of the new type virus SARS in China and other countries, in Geneva on January 22, 2020.

Pierre Albouy | AFP | Getty Images

Countries with falling coronavirus infections could still face an “immediate second peak” if they abandon measures to end the epidemic too soon, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic, said Dr Mike Ryan, WHO emergency chief, in an online briefing, noting that cases are declining in many countries , they continue to increase in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa.

Ryan said epidemics often occur in waves, which means epidemics may return later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. It was also possible that infection rates would rise again more quickly if the measures to stop the first wave were lifted too early.

“When we talk about a second wave in a classic way, what we often hear is that there will be a first wave of the disease itself, and then it will recur months later. And that can be a reality for many countries in a number of months, “said Ryan.

“But we must also be aware that the disease can occur at any time. We cannot hypothesize that, just because the disease is going down, it will continue to go down and we get a number of months to prepare for a second wave. We could have a second peak in this wave. “

He said that European and North American countries should “continue to put in place public and social health measures, surveillance measures, tests and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downward trajectory and we don’t have a second peak. “

Many European and American states have taken steps in the past few weeks to lift the lockdowns that have curbed the spread of the disease but caused severe damage to the economies.

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