Noting at a regular press briefing that "some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions," the WHO chief warned that lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence.
"The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly," he said, underlining that the WHO is working with affected countries on strategies for gradually and safely easing restrictions.
Some European countries are already considering relaxing their restriction measures as they see a slowing trend in the number of COVID-19 infections.
Austria, for instance, aims to gradually ease the exit restrictions and reopen shops and businesses from mid-April. Switzerland also suggested "the first relaxations" by the end of April.
The WHO chief stressed that decision of lifting restrictions should be made on the condition that transmission is controlled; that sufficient public health and medical services are available; that outbreak risks in special settings like long-term care facilities are minimised; that preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools and other places where it's essential for people to go; that importation risks can be managed; and that communities are fully aware and engaged in the transition.
Globally, nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to the WHO, as well as more than 92,000 deaths.