WHO cautions against further lifting of COVID-19 lockdown in UK

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ENGLAND has been warned to take higher precautionary measures in their approach to lifting of COVID-19 lockdown as shops open in all parts of Briton after easing the lockdown.

  WHO Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge has cautioned that Britain is still in a ‘very active phase’ of the Covid-19 pandemic while moves to reopen non-essential shops take effect.

According to the WHO representative, lockdown restrictions in England should not be eased further until government’s track-and-trace system for combatting the pandemic has proven to be “robust and effective”, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s director for Europe, warned Britain was still in the midst of a “very active phase of the pandemic” as shops across England re-opens to the public.

Speaking to newsmen, he warned that it is still too early to take steps that may truncate successes recorded so far; adding that government needs to review the existing two-metre social distancing rule; Guardian reports.

Kluge said while the tracking in England of some 31,000 contacts of more than 8,000 COVID-19 infected people was “encouraging”, the government needed to be sure it could “aggressively” track infections if it is to proceed further with relaxing lockdown measures.

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“Contact tracing is key especially as the UK starts to relax the social and physical distancing measures. There has to be a robust track-and-trace system in place of operation.” he said.

It was revealed last week that one in three people who tested positive for COVID-19 in England between May 28 and June 3 – the first full week of the contact-tracing scheme’s operation – had not provided details of people they had been close to and may have infected.

The first batch of figures for the service meanwhile showed that out of 8,117 people whose details it received, 5,407 were contacted.

A total of 31,794 close contacts were subsequently identified as being at potential risk of having also been infected.

Of these, 26,985, or 85 per cent were then reached and asked to self-isolate the vast majority within 24 hours.

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Baroness Dido Harding, who is overseeing the programme, said the results represented a “good performance” given it was the “first week of a scale citizen service”.

“Clearly it can and needs to and will get better,” she told reporters at the Downing Street Coronavirus briefing last week.

The UK’s death toll from the pandemic has now reached 41,698 after it was revealed that a further 36 people had died after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, while cases now stands at 295889.

According to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, across the UK, only 36 deaths were recorded with Coronavirus – the lowest since March 21.” His tweeter post reads.

He added: “We are winning the battle against this horrible disease.”

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said the falling numbers of coronavirus cases had given the government “more margin for manoeuvre” in easing the two-metre social-distancing rule as he announced a formal review into whether the measure should be relaxed.

The PM says, there have been calls to scrap the rule so premises such as restaurants and pubs are able to re-open sustainably when lockdown is eased further.

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Further reports say government’s advisers, including England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty have continued to signal their reluctance to see any easing while the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spike.

Reacting on the developments, Dr Kluge said: “whether it is one or two metre is less important than the fact that people will adhere to the measures, to the physical distancing, to the handwashing, to the respiratory hygiene, and that they understand that it is not over. This is the key issue.”

“We know that the situation in the UK is still being taken very seriously,” he added.

“But we also know that it is a balance between three factors: population health, economic and social, and the third is the wellbeing of the people.

He called on the citizens to be ready for whatever decision the government comes up with, while urging the people to also make their decisions based on public wellbeing.

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