WHO warns against premature lifting of lockdowns

World Health Organisation (WHO), the key authority in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) which has so far infected over 1,9 million and claimed more than 119, 000 lives globally, yesterday warned against the premature lifting of lockdowns imposed by various countries to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The warning comes at a time when Zimbabwe has just entered its third and last week of its shutdown which came into effect on March 30 and coming to an end on April 19.

WHO said countries considering lifting lockdowns against COVID-19 should do so only slowly and “with control.”

“It cannot happen all at once,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

“While COVID-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly. In other words, the way down is much slower than the way up.”

Neighbouring South Africa, whose 21-day lockdown was set to expire on April 16 has since been extended by two weeks up to the end of the month.

Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, also last night extended by another 14 days the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states as the war against COVID-19 is seemingly far from being over.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria’s response to the lockdown was “a matter of life and death,” adding the repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action were unimaginable.

Looking at what is happening globally, chances of Zimbabwe extending its lockdown are very high with confirmed cases having since risen to 17 including three deaths.

“I am supposed to make an official statement if we are going to extend the lockdown,” said President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Gweru yesterday during his lockdown assessment tour.

“We shall review the situation on the 20th of April on whether we adjust the lockdown conditions or we extend. It’s a question of collective discussion after we tour the provinces and have first-hand information on the obtaining situation.”

However, some Bulawayo residents who spoke to CITE this week said they were ready for the extension should the government go ahead and do likewise, stressing the need to defeat COVID-19 out rightly.

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