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WHO warns against lifting COVID-19 restrictions too soon

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By Euronews
FILE: In this June 5, 2021, file photo, people wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk along a commercial street in downtown Madrid, Spain
FILE: In this June 5, 2021, file photo, people wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk along a commercial street in downtown Madrid, Spain   -   Copyright  Manu Fernandez/AP
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned governments on Wednesday against easing coronavirus restrictions too soon as Europe faces a new rise in infections fueled by the more contagious Delta variant.

"The world is at a perilous point in this pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press briefing.

"Some countries with high vaccination coverage are now planning to roll out booster shots in the coming months and are dropping public health social measures and relaxing as if the pandemic is already over."

"However, compounded by fast-moving variants, and shocking inequity in vaccination, far too many countries in many regions of the world are seeing sharp spikes in cases and hospitalisation," the WHO director-general Dr Tedros said.

"There has been a 33% increase [in new infections] in the European region in the last week," warned WHO emergencies head Michael Ryan.

"Making assumptions that transmission will not increase as we're opening up because of the vaccine is a false assumption," he said.

"I would urge extreme caution in the complete lifting of public health and social measures at this time because there are consequences for that," Ryan told reporters.

He was answering a question about the UK's decision to lift all remaining restrictions by July 19.

Most European countries have now alleviated COVID-19 curbs after months of lockdowns.

However, as new infections soar, many European states are reinstating stricter coronavirus rules.

Portugal has imposed on Friday an 11 p.m. curfew in parts of the country with surging coronavirus cases.

Several Spanish regions announced that they were reimposing curbs on nightlife mere weeks after dropping them.

Additional sources • AFP, AP