WHO official warns more steps needed in addition to lockdowns

WHO official warns more steps needed in addition to lockdowns
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A World Health Organization (WHO) emergency-preparedness expert said Sunday that public health measures against the coronavirus must extend beyond large-scale lockdowns.

“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Mike Ryan said on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Reuters reported.

“The danger right now with the lockdowns ... if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up,” he added.

Ryan cited measures put in place by South Korea, Singapore and China, combining restrictions with mass testing. “Once we’ve suppressed the transmission, we have to go after the virus. We have to take the fight to the virus,” Ryan said.

“The vaccines will come, but we need to get out and do what we need to do now,” he added, noting that any vaccine would likely not be approved and widely available for at least a year.

Ryan’s comments echo those of former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who told CBS’s Margaret Brennan Sunday morning that the U.S., particularly cities like San Francisco and New York, which have almost entirely locked down, should begin developing strategies for transitioning to case-by-case interventions.