The World Health Organization is warning that countries with declining COVID-19 cases are facing an "immediate second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon.
"We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave," said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program.
According to the WHO, while some countries in Europe, as well as the U.S. are beginning to lift virus restrictions and restart economies, the world is only in the middle of the first wave of the virus. The health agency reports that countries in South America and Africa are continuing to see an increase in virus case numbers.
"Therefore I think right now, countries in Europe, countries North America, many other countries around the world in southeast Asia have to continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the public health measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downward trajectory and that we don’t have an immediate second peak," Ryan said.
Johns Hopkins University reports that more than 5.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide so far.
Contains footage from CNN.