GENEVA (Reuters) – Some countries have seen “upticks” in COVID-19 cases as lockdowns ease, and populations must protect themselves from the coronavirus while authorities continue testing, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
The epicentre of the pandemic is currently in countries of Central, South and North America, particularly the United States, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.
“On upticks (in cases), yes we have seen in countries around the world – I’m not talking specifically about Europe – when the lockdowns ease, when the social distancing measures ease, people sometimes interpret this as ‘OK, it’s over’,” Harris told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.
“It’s not over. It’s not over until there is no virus anywhere in the world,” she said.
Harris, referring to U.S. demonstrations since the killing of George Floyd 10 days ago, she said that protesters must take precautions. “We have certainly seen a lot of passion this week, we’ve seen people who have felt the need to be out and to express their feelings,” she added. “”We ask them to remember still protect yourself and others.”
To avoid infection, the WHO advised people to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet), frequently wash hands and avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes, Harris said.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Pravin Char