After seeing heartening results of months of containment measures, many countries have started relaxing their measures and resuming work, which makes individual protection even more important.
Italy, France, Spain and Australia have all announced phase-by-phase plans to lift their lockdowns. Germany has given the green light to stores and schools to reopen. And for Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil a lockdown exit roadmap on Sunday.
Countries must ease lockdowns gradually, while still being “on the look-out” for COVID-19 and ready to restore restrictions if the coronavirus jumps back, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on May 1.
So, what should individuals do to better protect themselves after their countries lift restrictive measures before the pandemic is over?
Current information suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the coronavirus are respiratory droplets and contact, according to the WHO. Therefore, keeping wearing personal protective equipment helps.
“Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19,” the WHO said in an interim guidance published in April.
But the WHO said on its website that “masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.”
Besides, measures like covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or a bent elbow while coughing or sneezing and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces including tables, doorknobs, phones, and keyboards are all good habits, as suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As more countries allow outdoor activities, the U.S. CDC suggests not to visit parks that were recently exposed to COVID-19 or crowded ones.
The WHO also discourages going to crowded places as people are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain a proper physical distance.
Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) on Friday discussed in a report how to overcome post-lockdown mass mobility challenges and incorporate social distancing as the “new normal.”
“Since this crisis is ‘novel,’ we need to come up with solutions which weren’t thought of before, or were rejected for being too futuristic or impractical for a developing and densely populated nation like India,” said Paresh Rawal from the ORF.
To date, over 3.7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, and about 260,000 people have died globally from COVID-19, according to the WHO situation report on Friday.