World Health Organisation’s top emergency expert says lockdowns not enough to defeat coronavirus

World Health Organisation’s top emergency expert says lockdowns not enough to defeat coronavirus

A LOCKDOWN on societies across Europe and the rest of the world won’t be enough to stop coronavirus in its tracks, a leading expert has warned.

The World Health Organisation’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, believes a set of strict public health measures will also be necessary in order to prevent a potential resurgence of the virus.

Speaking during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Ryan laid out what he believes are the important next steps the authorities should be taking to address the spread of coronavirus.

He added that should governments fail to implement these measures then there is a real and genuine risk of cases of the virus jumping up again.

“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,” Mr Ryan told Andrew Marr.

“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.”

Ireland, like much of Europe and the US, has introduced drastic restrictions on travel for non-essential workers, many of whom are now working from home, while schools, bars, pubs and restaurants have also been closed.

However, Mr Ryan believes these countries need to follow the example of countries like China, Singapore and South Korea, where these restrictions had been coupled with rigorous measures to test person suspected of having the virus.

"Once we've suppressed the transmission, we have to go after the virus. We have to take the fight to the virus," Mr Ryan added.

While he was quick to note that several vaccines were already being developed and one was in the trial stage, people would need to be realistic about how long it will take before such medicines become widely available.

"We have to make sure that it's absolutely safe... we are talking at least a year," he said.

"The vaccines will come, but we need to get out and do what we need to do now."