The director of the World Health Organization Europe, Hans Kluge, said he was “extremely concerned”; about the second wave in Europe, but warned against the imposition of national lockdowns as the number of cases in the region increased.
Instead Kluge told CNN mask-wearing, along with strict control over social gatherings, could save 281,000 lives in Europe in six months.
“The national lockdown is the last resort,” Kluge said, explaining that in March it was the default position but now “we know better”.
New cases of coronavirus are accelerating rapidly in almost all of Europe, and are now surpassing the number of new cases in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the World Health Organization. The five European countries currently affected by the pandemic are France, the UK, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands.
Kluge said WHO Europe is calling for “local, targeted, proportional initiatives” that involve communicating with communities and preventing collateral damage to society and the economy.
The idea of short, sharp “circuit breaker” lockdowns has been hosted in several countries, including the UK. Kluge said the government should consider their impact on society, including mental health and domestic violence before implementing it, and the two- or three-week period should be used to “buy time” to get an effective track and trace system in place.