The coronavirus cases across the world are now over four million. According to Worldometer, there are 4,269,200 cases globally, 287,504 deaths and 1,533,808 recoveries, at the time of this report.
After several weeks of lockdown and movement restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries such as Germany, the UnitedKingdom and others are now considering opening up their economies.
Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have also started a gradual easing of their lockdown as its effect bite harder on citizens.
As world leaders begin taking this crucial but risky steps, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has outlined six criteria they need to consider before lifting the restrictions.
The director-general of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, advised that the decision to lift restrictions and when to lift them must be based first and foremost on protecting human health and guided by what is known about the COVID-19 virus and how it behaves.
“We’re all learning all the time and adjusting our strategy based on the latest available evidence,”the WHO chief said as he listed the six criteria President Buhari and other world leaders must take note as they consider lifting restrictions.
- Dr Ghebreyesus said world leaders must ensure that they have controlled the transmission of the virus before lifting restrictions
- The second criteria, according to the WHO DG, is to ensure that their health system capacities are in place to detect, test, isolate, and treat every case and trace every contact.
- The leaders must also ensure that outbreak risks are minimised in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes
- President Buhari and other world leaders are also advised to ensure that preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools and other places where it is essential for people to go before fully lifting restrictions.
- World leaders must also ensure that importation risks can be managed.
- Finally, world leaders must ensure that communities are fully educated, engaged, and empowered to adjust to the “new norm”.
“Every country must be implementing a comprehensive set of new measures to slow down transmission and save lives. Each government must assess their situation, while protecting all their citizens, and especially the most vulnerable.” the WHO DG said.
To determine how to release a lockdown, WHO recommends three questions countries should consider and answer. The questions are below:
“-is the epidemic under control?
-is the health system able to cope with a resurgence of cases?
-is the surveillance system able to detect & manage the cases & their contacts?”
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) also warned that even with intense social distancing, Africa which has 1.3 billion people could have nearly 123 million cases this year.
UNECA also said 300,000 people could die of the disease.