WHO warns of a second peak in coronavirus infections

Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they relax preventive measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, May 25.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of Emergencies at the World Health Organisation, said the world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Ryan noted that while cases are declining in many countries, they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia among others.

 

Additionally, he pointed out that epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. He added that there is also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.

 

“When we speak about a second wave, classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a few months’ time,” Ryan said.

“But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down. We may get a second peak.”

Alternatively, countries should continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak,” he said.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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