Lifting lockdown restrictions is not end of epidemic: WHO

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GENEVA: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that lifting lockdown restrictions for COVID-19 is not the end of the epidemic, it’s just the beginning of the next phase.

Speaking at the Group of 20 (G20) Health Ministers virtual meeting from Geneva, the WHO chief said it’s vital in this next phase that countries educate, engage and empower their people to prevent and respond rapidly to any resurgence, Xinhua reported.

“We are encouraged that several G20 countries are now starting to plan how to ease social restrictions. It is critical that these measures are a phased process,” he said. Tedros told the health ministers that the WHO is deeply concerned that the virus now appears to be gathering pace in countries that lack the capacity of many G20 countries to respond to it.

“Urgent support is needed, not only to support countries to respond to COVID-19, but to ensure other essential health services continue,” he said.

Tedros also took the opportunity to thank Saudi Arabia for its support to the global fight against the virus. Saudi Arabia announced Thursday a $500 million donation to relevant international organizations to support global efforts in combating the COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of a simple truth: we are one humanity. We share the same planet. We share the same hopes and dreams. We share the same destiny,” the WHO chief said.

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