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As Countries Ease Coronavirus Measures, WHO Says 'Not the Time to be Lax'

FILE - World Health Organization Regional Director for Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai addresses the media at a conference in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 7, 2019.

A World Health Organization official said Tuesday that if countries are too quick to relax lockdown measures, they risk a resurgence of the coronavirus.

“This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO’s regional director for the Western Pacific, said during an online news conference.

The cautionary message comes as governments across the world consider when and how to relax the measures they put in place to try to stop the spread of the virus that has disrupted global life for four months.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a Facebook post his government will announce its plans by the end of the week after working with experts to craft a "gradual and sustainable reopening." He said a "reasonable prediction" is the plan will begin May 4.

Conte wrote that while he wishes everything could be allowed to reopen right away, such a move “would be irresponsible” and “frustrate all the efforts we’ve put in so far.”

Britain’s Parliament is taking a phased approach to its return to work after an extra long holiday break.

FILE - A cyclist crosses a near-empty Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in central London, Britain, April 9, 2020.

Members are expected to gather Tuesday, while adhering to social distancing guidelines, to vote on allowing their sessions going forward to involve only 50 people actually sitting in the 650-member House of Commons, while others participate using videoconferencing.

Worried about a massive spread of COVID-19, Indonesia’s government said Tuesday it is banning people from taking traditional trips home at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins this week.

Health experts had warned of a possible surge in cases if millions of people travel to their home villages. Indonesia has more than 6,700 confirmed coronavirus cases with about 600 deaths.

The outbreak also has caused officials in Germany to cancel this year’s Oktoberfest beer festival, saying it would be too risky to hold the event that draws 2 million foreign visitors each year.

“Living with the coronavirus means living carefully,” Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder said Tuesday.

In South Korea, there is more return to normalcy with the country’s professional baseball league restarting.

The Doosan Bears and LG Twins played a preseason game in Seoul with no fans in attendance.

The game is part of a ramp-up to the start of the regular Korean Baseball Organization season May 5. Those games will, for now, also be played in front of empty stands.

Additional safety measures include taking players’ temperatures twice before each game, and asking the players to not shake hands, high-five each other or spit.

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