There is a “definite threat” of a repeat Covid-19 outbreak if nations emerging from their first wave aren’t vigilant, a senior official at the UN’s health watchdog has warned the Russian diaspora, as countries ease restrictions.
Hans Kluge, the European director for the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday reiterated the body’s message: even though the coronavirus pandemic has apparently been brought under control, its threat remains as persistent as it was when the infection first emerged in China last year.
“We still have neither a vaccine nor a cure for Covid-19,” he said, during a news conference. Kluge was speaking in Russian to reach people in countries where many know the language, from Russia itself to Armenia and Israel.
“The second wave is not inevitable. But an increasing number of nations are lifting restrictions, and there is a definite threat of a repeat outbreak of the Covid-19 infection. If those outbreaks are not isolated, a second wave may come and it may be very destructive,” Kluge cautioned.
The good news, the official added, is that humanity now is in a better shape to deal with coronavirus after the first outbreak. “We better understand the virus, which measures work, how we must prepare,” he pointed out.
The WHO has repeatedly been warning nations to maintain a slow and conservative pace in lifting national lockdowns, to prevent the disease from spinning out of control again. Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, this week allowed travelers from other EU member states and the UK to enter without having to spend two weeks in self-isolation upon arrival.
6.4 million Covid-19 cases were identified globally as of Wednesday. The virus has claimed over 380,000 lives across the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.