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World News

WHO says wants to avoid 'punishing' coronavirus lockdowns

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization’s top emergencies expert said on Friday that authorities should try to avoid “punishing” lockdowns, as many countries see a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 infections.

Mike Ryan was speaking at a briefing in Geneva, the day after the WHO reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours led by a surge of infections in Europe.

“What we want to try to avoid - and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that - but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else,” he said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge; Editing by Alex Richardson

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