Recently, experts at the World Health Organization have stated their concerns regarding the lack of widespread testing for COVID-19 in countries that have eased their lockdown restrictions and re-opened educational institutes including China and a number of other European countries.
Though the number of cases has been controlled, the WHO warns that ending lockdowns without fundamental precautionary measures could pave the way for reports of new coronavirus infection cases in the future.
In fact, these concerns from the health experts came after several new cases were diagnosed in Wuhan, the city of China where the COVID-19 pandemic originally began as well as in South Korea, Denmark, and France.
Around eighty-five new cases of the coronavirus infection were reported soon after easing restriction and all of them were linked to one person. Similar instances have been noted in the Netherlands and Germany where more cases are being diagnosed soon after re-opening of schools and businesses.
In accordance with authorities, if the current situation continues, there will soon be a second wave of coronavirus infection in the named countries. To avoid this, testing and tracing of infected people should be done or continued.
Following the warning, health officials in states of the US where the lockdown has ended have been alerted for new incoming cases. Similarly, teams for the prevention and control of a coronavirus resurgence are being prepared in different countries in Europe.
Dr. Michael Ryan, who is the World Health Organization’s emergency chief deemed that tracing teams are required to assure the situation does not go out of hands in the named countries again while highlighting the approach of South Korea and Germany.
Germany and South Korea have, so far, the most strict and robust strategies for the prevention of the second wave of coronavirus infection. Both the countries took measures almost immediately after there were reports of new cases.
However, in the case of other countries, Ryan also added that some are not taking the fundamental steps required to end the pandemic. More specifically, he said “Shutting your eyes and trying to drive through this blind is about as silly an equation as I’ve seen,”
“And I’m really concerned that certain countries are setting themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months.” He added.
In Germany, tracing and testing is done by a team of over ten thousand people. Other countries, in comparison, are far behind. For instance, even though Germany is one-quarter of the size of the US, the team is much larger and more efficient.
On the other hand, Britain started tracing at the beginning of March. However, the quick spread of the virus made the majority of the efforts of the team fail. Currently, the country is setting up a new team for re-starting the tracing procedures.
Europe and the US are reportedly developing a cellphone-based application that can show infected people as well as anyone they may have come in contact with, thereby helping significantly in tracing of new potential cases of COVID-19.
Read about WHO’s advice on tracing diseases here.
Many of the countries which have eased their restrictions or are planning to do so have also made certain policies for preventing the spread of coronavirus infection. For instance, people have to continue to wear masks even after the lockdown has been lifted until the pandemic is completely controlled.
On the other hand, a big number of countries are seeing a rapid spread of the coronavirus infection including India, which recently reported the highest number of cases in one day till its first wave started.
Taking preventive measures is fundamental, according to the WHO, since the pandemic is likely to stay for a longer than expected time and the possibility of a resurgence is very high in all countries alike.