The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned governments worldwide to ease COVID-19 restrictions too soon.
The UN health agency’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan warned of a new wave of infections, saying the pandemic was just getting started for much of the world.
He also warned countries that did so “risked paying a heavy price for rushing back to normality.”
“All of the countries of the Americas, we still have nearly one million cases a week,” he said. “And the same in Europe…with half a million cases a week. It’s not like this thing has gone away,” Ryan added. “It isn’t over.”
This came as Britain declared a plan to ease the coronavirus restrictions further.
Last Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the final stage of the four-step plan out of lockdown.
“Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap,” Johnson said.
“Today, we will set out how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach step 4.
“But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks. As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise judgement when going about our lives.”
Step four will mean removing mask-wearing rules, the end of social distancing and the return of large-scale events.
The UK has been under the spotlight given rising numbers of new coronavirus cases with the Delta variant.
Many countries have restricted travel from the UK because of the spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Travellers from Britain are now required to show proof of their vaccination. For those who have not been vaccinated, they must produce a negative RT PCR test report.
The variant is more transmissible than others and was first identified in India, but it has spread rapidly in the UK.
However, Portugal was the first European Union nation to announce that the Delta variant was now dominant on its territory.
According to the World Health Organization, it is “well on its way” to account for most worldwide cases of Covid-19.