The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again.
“This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.
He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus and the lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function.
Despite concerns from health officials, some U.S. states on Monday announced aggressive reopening plans, while Boeing and at least one other U.S. heavy-equipment manufacturer resumed production. Elsewhere around the world, step-by-step reopenings were underway in Europe, where the crisis has begun to ebb in places such as Italy, Spain and Germany.
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Australia said Tuesday that it will allow the resumption of non-urgent surgeries from next week as health authorities grow more confident that hospitals there won’t be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.