WHO says wants to avoid 'punishing' coronavirus lockdowns

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO attends a news conference on the Ebola outbreak at the United Nations in Geneva

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)