The World Health Organization on Sunday said that countries cannot just go under lockdown to combat coronavirus, and that public health measures are required to avoid an outbreak later, Reuters reported. This came on the day the Indian government shut down nearly 80 districts across the country that have positive cases of the virus and deaths due to it.
On Sunday, three more people in India – one each in Mumbai, Bihar, and Gujarat – died due to COVID-19, taking the toll in the country to seven. The number of confirmed cases surged to 360, the Indian Health Ministry said.
“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” said Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme, in an interview with BBC. “The danger right now with the lockdowns...if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.”
Several other countries, including most of Europe and the United States – where cases surged drastically – have taken strict measures to check the spread of the virus. Ryan said that steps taken by China, Singapore, and South Korea, where restrictions were followed up with testing of every suspected case, was a model for Europe – which is now the epicentre of the pandemic.
“Once we’ve suppressed the transmission, we have to go after the virus,” the WHO official added. “We have to take the fight to the virus.”
Italy is the worst-affected country in the world with 59,138 confirmed cases and 5,476 people have been killed in the nation so far. COVID-19 has infected 3,35,997 people, and 14,641 people have been killed because of it, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.