The regional director of the World Health Organization, Hans Kluge, stated that European nations should be cautious when considering easing lockdowns and restrictions (Reuters). Kluge told reporters “In the past 10 days, the number of cases reported in Europe has nearly doubled to close to one million” (France 24). He also stated that about 50% of the global burden of the virus was in Europe (CNBC). More than 84,000 people throughout the region have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus (Reuters).
Kluge said the WHO recognizes that social distancing policies are “affecting lives and livelihood”, but they are designed to slow the spread of the virus (France 24). He warned leaders who consider lifting restrictions “There is no fast track back to normal” (CNBC). Kluge also told reporters “The storm clouds of this pandemic still hang heavily over the European region” (Reuters). Any attempts to lift lockdowns should consider evidence that transmission is being controlled, outbreak risks are minimized, and health systems can isolate any cases (France 24).