The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of an “immediate second peak” of the deadly COVID-19 disease as countries around the world ease up on lockdowns.
The warning was issued on Monday by WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan who told an online briefing that, while cases were declining in many countries, they were still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa.
Ryan said there was a chance infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.
“We need to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time,” he said. “We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.”
This came after WHO said it had temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure.
The WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, who disclosed this at a virtual press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, said the decision came after the publication last week of a study in the Lancet indicating that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying.
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