‘Too early’ to undo coronavirus lockdowns, says WHO Europe boss
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‘Too early’ to undo coronavirus lockdowns, says WHO Europe boss

The boss of the WHO's European division said now was not the moment to start relaxing measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. © Belga

It is “certainly too early” to begin lifting confinement measures against the coronavirus pandemic, the Belgian director of the World Health Organisation’s European division said.

“At the current moment, it is certainly still too early to start relaxing measures” to contain the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), Hans Kluge said in an interview with Knack.

Kluge said that countries in Europe should roll back their respective nationwide lockdowns progressively, during an interview in which he also said the lack of coordination between governments was “regrettable.”

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“I find it regrettable that each nation has their own ideas, when we have a clear and up-to-day at WHO to outline a unified approach,” Kluge, who has been at the helm of WHO’s European bureau since last autumn, said.

This week, Austria and Denmark became the first European countries to announce they would relax confinement measures just over a month after they came into effect, announcements which came as Italy and Spain, the Continent’s hardest-hit countries, moved to extend theirs.

The announcement by both European countries also coincides Chinese authorities to lift the final lockdown measures in Wuhan, the global epicentre of the pandemic, after nearly 3 months of a strict lockdown.

Asked to give his take on Belgian authorities’ handling of the pandemic, Kluge referred to his home country’s response as “balanced” and said there was “clearly” a strategy.

“Belgium clearly has a strategy to fight this pandemic, there is a fine line against doing too little and doing too much, and Maggie De Block has found a right equilibrium in that respect,” he said, referring to the federal health minister.

Kluge’s statements echo those of an infectious disease expert chairing a group of experts tasked by the government to outline the steps to

Kluge’s statements also echo those of Erika Vlieghe, appointed to lead the group of experts tasked with bringing the country out of lockdown, who on Tuesday said it was “far too early” for Belgium to “loosen its grip” on the pandemic.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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