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Coronavirus pandemic: Countries reimposing lockdowns after resurge in COVID-19 infections

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 May 2020, 13:10 IST

As the number of COVID-19 cases cross 4 million worldwide, some countries are exploring ways to ease restrictions aimed at containing spread of coronavirus while the others that had already done so are re-imposing restrictions after a resurge in infections.

According to a report in The Washington Post, such resurgence had been widely predicted by experts but the rise in numbers are a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead as the countries weigh the pros and cons of easing restrictions that were put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Lebanon on Tuesday became the latest country to re-impose restrictions, after a rise in number of infections, with authorities ordering a four-day, near complete lockdown to allow officials time to assess the increase in numbers.

The moves comes almost two weeks after the country seemed to have contained the spread of deadly virus and began "easing up", reported Washington Post.

The WHO officials too have repeatedly warned against hastily lifting restrictions saying that it could lead to a deadly resurgence.

Last month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said: "I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone. At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence."

Even the South Korean government, earlier this month issued a month-long advisory on clubs and bars, asking such establishments to voluntarily suspend business after a group of coronavirus infections were reported at Seoul's popular multicultural neighbourhood of Itaewon.

In China's Wuhan, where the virus originated last year, authorities earlier this week ordered the testing of all 11 million residents after a cluster of six new infections emerged, reported Washington Post.

Even Germany is warning that some areas may have to reinstate restrictions.

Iran, which is one of the countries most severely affected by the deadly virus, has ordered a county in the southwestern province of Khuzestan to reimpose a lockdown.

Firass Abiad, who oversees coronavirus efforts at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon's main government hospital, was quoted as saying that a country's success will depend less on how it curtails the spread of disease during a lockdown than on how the country manages the inevitable resurgence after lockdowns end.

"A lockdown is a means and not an end. It's a means either to allow you to regain control or put measures in place to control coronavirus when it comes back. When we eased the lockdown, we knew there would be an increase in the number of cases," he said.

Earlier this month, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus had again said that the risk of returning to lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic is real if countries do not lift restrictions carefully and gradually.

"The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully, and in a phased approach," he had stated.


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First published: 14 May 2020, 13:10 IST