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World Health Organisation Warns Countries About Opening Up Too Soon

World Health Organisation Warns Countries About Opening Up Too Soon

Dr Michael Ryan said abandoning restrictions could be premature.

Vivienne Kelly

Vivienne Kelly

The World Health organisation (WHO) has issued a stark warning to countries which are lifting Covid-19 restrictions at a rapid rate.

The warning came just hours after both New South Wales and Victoria made announcements which will see the states scrap most of their public health measures.

Both states have allowed dancefloors to return and removed density limits on hospitality and entertainment venues, and masks and QR code check-ins will only be required in limited circumstances.

You can read about the new regime in New South Wales here.

For the new Victorian rules, click here.

Despite the Premiers of both states voicing optimism about the new state of play given infection numbers, vaccination rates and hospitalisations, the WHO warned relaxing restrictions in some cases was 'premature'.


"I'm a bit nervous right now, that we're just sort of lifting everything," Dr Michael Ryan, who is the executive director of WHO Health Emergencies, said.

"If we get hit with another variant, and we've already sort of abandoned all measures, it's going to be really hard to put anything back in place," he added.

"This idea that we're just going to abandon everything, I think is a very premature concept in many countries right now."

WHO's Dr Michael Ryan
WHO's Dr Michael Ryan

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead of the WHO Health Emergencies, program echoed these sentiments.

She said it is 'ill-advised to lift everything all at once'.

"We just need to have countries to not do this all or nothing approach because it is confusing," she said.

"In some countries they're in a better position to be able to do that because they have higher levels of vaccination coverage, high levels of population-level immunity.

"They have the ability to adjust."

In the 24 hours to 4pm on Thursday, NSW reported 9,243 new Covid-19n cases.

There are 1,381 people in hospital with the virus, 92 of whom are in ICU.

There were 15 lives lost in the 24-hour reporting period.

Victoria, meanwhile, recorded 6,935 cases.

The state has 451 people in hospital with the virus, 64 of whom are in ICU. 16 are ventilated.

The state recorded 14 deaths.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Australia, Covid-19