How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

stay home_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Linda Lacina, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum


  • The World Health Organization held a media briefing to update the public on the COVID-19 outbreak. Streamed live on Monday 6 April.
  • A strategic, “step-wise” approach will be essential to easing lockdowns safely, according to WHO officials.

More than a third of the world is currently under some form of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, with schools, workplaces and places of worship closed. As these shutdowns slow the spread of the virus, many are eagerly looking ahead to how these restrictions will soon be lifted. At today’s World Health Organization (WHO) briefing, Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, explained that a strategic “calibrated, step-wise approach” will be the safest and most effective way to ease these limitations.

Key questions
Before easing restrictions, countries should first examine key statistics such as their rates of infection and the capacity of their healthcare systems. Areas with hospital bed capacity near 100% are not yet ready to reduce lockdown restrictions, he said.

“You need to be in a position where you have free beds in your system so you’re managing and coping with the case load,” said Ryan. “That means you have some absorption capacity left.”

Other numbers will be equally important, such as: their doubling rate (how many days it takes for the number of cases to double); the number of contacts generated per infected case; and the positivity rate (the proportion of all samples tested that are positive).

“You’ll see in somewhere like [South] Korea, they’re testing, and 2% to 6% of their samples are positive. Last week, in New York, 37% of tested samples were positive. So you need to carefully look at what proportion of people that I test are positive.”

Countries should also consider which shutdown elements will be most effective to ease, while and ensuring that leaders understand the epidemiology of the disease in each shutdown area. “That’s the safe way out of lockdown,” Ryan added.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Preparing for a transition
Once those key questions are answered, countries must put elements in place for a transition. For instance, a strong public health capacity must be built to take over from the lockdown, said Ryan, as well as a strengthened health system that can cope, should the disease rebound.

“Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the infection,” said Ryan. “The way to do that is active case finding, testing, isolation of cases, tracking of contacts, quarantining of contacts.”

“There no absolutes here. There are no answers.”

—Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme

Strong community education is an additional essential aspect of this transition, said Ryan. The public must be engaged and informed about physical distancing methods after restrictions are raised. “If you have strong public health capacity, if you’ve got a community that’s mobilized and empowered, and if you’ve strengthened your health system, then you’re potentially in a position to start unlocking or unwinding the lockdown.”

Test and evaluate
Ryan was careful to say that strategies will vary depending on a country’s unique situation.

Instead, a customized, step-wise approach will be the safest and most effective, providing the chance to make adjustments as needed. “You need to say, ‘We will stop doing this element of the shutdown and then we will wait and we will look at the data. And if that works we go to the next stage and the next stage.'”

“There no absolutes here. There are no answers. There are no numbers that say, ‘If this number is this than you do this.’ That doesn’t exist,” he noted.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Drones are saving lives in Tanzania’s remote communities

Dignified health for all who live here

Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain receive €279m after natural disasters in 2019

China, forever new adventures

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

Available mental health services: is it only about professionals or institutions?

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

COVID-19: Single market must emerge stronger from the crisis, say MEPs

Europe and the tragicomic ‘black sovranismo’

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

Migration crisis update: What are the chances of a fair deal at this EU Summit?

2021 EU budget must focus on supporting a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

David McAllister underlines the need for rapid progress in EU-UK negotiations

Prisons are failing. It’s time to find an alternative

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

A rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the war-torn Yemen

Banking Union: ECOFIN and Parliament ready to compromise

4 ways family businesses can lead the pandemic recovery

Could electric vehicles pose a threat to our power systems?

GSMA Announces Final Event Lineup for Highly Anticipated 2019 “MWC Los Angeles, in Partnership with CTIA”

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

Under-fives’ daily screen time should be kept to 60 minutes only, warns WHO

Preventing the Pandemic of Mental Illness

COVID-19: Emerging technologies are now critical infrastructure – what that means for governance

Mario Draghi quizzed for last time by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

Manufacturing is finally entering a new era

Business could learn plenty about cybersecurity from the secret state

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

How India is solving its cooling challenge

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

Coronavirus: here’s what you need to know about face masks

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s