Amid countries mulling easing pandemic restrictions, the World Health Organization last week advised “extreme caution”, even with increasing vaccination rates.
For instance, England has said it plans to remove many of its curbs—such as wearing of face masks and social distancing—starting July 19; however, Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies director, warned of “consequences” in completely lifting such measures.
The global body’s data showed that after a drop in newly reported cases for seven consecutive weeks, a slight increase was observed over two weeks.
Ryan urged countries “not to lose the gains [they have] made” and to “very carefully” open up their economy, especially amid newer, more infectious variants circulating. Foremost among these is the Delta variant, first detected in India.
He recommended instead that governments follow the data in shedding restrictions and allow themselves leeway to pedal back should it cause problems.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, over 9.6 million individuals have received one shot of a Covid19 vaccine while over 3.4 million are fully vaccinated. These represent only 8.9% and 3.4% of the population, respectively.
In a bid to stem unemployment and hunger, President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers have suggested instead to impose localized lockdowns instead of extended quarantine restrictions over the whole country.
AFP via Getty Images