WHO warns of Covid-19 “bouncing back up” in India as people begin to move again

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 06, 2020

Migrants arrive from Ernakulam at Hatia Railway Station to reach their native places, during the fifth phase of Covid-19 lockdown, in Ranchi, Saturday, June 6, 2020.   -  PTI

The World Health Organization on Friday said that as people begin to move again as restrictions are relaxed, there is a possibility of Covid-19 cases increasing.

“The measures taken in India certainly had an impact in dampening transmission and as India, as in other large countries, open up and as people begin to move again, there's always a risk of the disease bouncing back up," said Dr Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert as quoted by media reports.

The number of Covid-19 cases in India and South Asia has been doubling every three weeks, but the pandemic has not yet “exploded” in these regions, Ryan said.

"In South Asia, not just in India, but in Bangladesh and... Pakistan and other countries of South Asia with large dense populations, the disease has not exploded, but there is always the risk of that happening," he said as quoted by Reuters.

The WHO emergency expert also warned that there is always a risk of cases exploding. He said that measures such as lockdown have slowed down the transmission but the risk of cases increasing remains even as the country begins opening up, Deccan Chronicle reported.

WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan further said that considering the 1.3 billion population in India the 200,000 reported cases, “look big but for a country of this size it’s still modest,” according to the report.

India on Saturday witnessed its biggest jump in Covid-19 cases with 9,887 new cases and 294 deaths surpassing Italy which has recorded 2,34,531 cases, Business Insider reported.

The government has extended the lockdown to June 30 in containment zone. It is also looking to lift restrictions in a phased manner and has initiated Unlock 1.0 that includes the opening of restaurants and hotels. Religious places are likely to receive the green light for reopening starting next week as per reports.

Published on June 06, 2020

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