As England moves towards an anticipated “big bang” lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, a senior World Health Organization official has warned countries to lift their Covid-19 restrictions slowly so as “not to lose the gains that [they] have made”.
Ryan said the idea of letting people get infected with Covid-19 earlier rather than later was “epidemiological stupidity”.
Addressing the speed of countries’ plans to reopen, Ryan added that in particular countries with low Covid-19 vaccination rates, combined with the lifting of restrictions, threatened a “toxic mixture”.
The issue of how, when and how quickly to end coronavirus restrictions around the world has become fraught amid resurgences linked to the more transmissible Delta variant
Countries which loosened restrictions - How did that work out?
Some countries that have loosened restrictions on issues such as mask-wearing, like Israel, have been forced to backtrack.
The Netherlands, too, lifted most lockdown measures on 26 June as cases were falling, and around two-thirds of the population has received at least one vaccination shot.
However, with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs reopened, new cases in the country doubled to 8,000 in the week ending 6 July. On Wednesday health authorities reported 3,688 new cases for the previous 24-hour period. That has led the Dutch government on Wednesday to say it will consider whether it needs to take fresh action.
“I think the sharp rise in infection numbers are a reason to request urgent advice from the outbreak management team”, the health minister, Hugo de Jonge, told reporters in The Hague.