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European nations call for sticking to restriction measures

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-04-12 07:25
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French rescue team wearing protective suits carry a patient on a stretcher from Mulhouse hospital before being loaded into a helicopter on March 23, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Remaining vigilant

Despite good news from Downing Street, Britain's coronavirus lockdown, like many European nations, faces its most serious test this weekend as it marks the Easter bank holiday.

Wary of any excess of optimism, French Director General of Health Salomon stressed "hospital pressure remains strong."

"A very high epidemic plateau seems to be emerging. We absolutely must continue to remain vigilant," he said. "The time is not for de-confinement...but perhaps even more for the strict respect of confinement, barrier gestures and social distancing."

Cypriot experts also strongly warned against a premature relaxation of the lockdown measures.

Leondios Kostrikis, a University of Cyprus professor of virology, who advises the Health Ministry, said "We are at a critical phase and we do not have a margin to make a mistake... Our advice is still the same, stay at home."

Marios Loizou, scientific director at the Nicosia Directorate of the Cyprus State Health Services Organization, also came out in support of the World Health Organization, warning that a premature relaxation of lockdown measures could lead to a deadly resurgence.

In Italy where the coronavirus pandemic has claimed 19,468 lives, Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri warned about underestimating risks of the pandemic.

"This dramatic emergency will finally be behind us only after an effective vaccine is discovered," Arcuri stressed. "Without it, there is only one antidote left: our behavior, which must all work in the direction of preventing and containing contagion."

The Italian Interior Ministry issued a stern notice on the eve of Easter festivities, which for Italians would especially coincide with open-air trips and family lunches in normal times.

"Police controls have been strengthened across the territory, and especially in the perspective of the weekend over Easter holidays (Sunday and Monday)," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also urged all Poles to stay at home during the Easter holidays, as the country's confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 6,000 on Saturday.

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