COVID Commissioner Warns Against Easing Restrictions Too Quickly, Fears New Wave

Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Coronavirus commissioner Professor Salman Zarka said on Sunday that he doesn’t plan to recommend easing any significant remaining restrictions yet, fearing a potential fifth virus wave.

“We are optimistic and we see the downward trend [of new cases] is continuing, but the fourth wave is still here,” Zarka told Kan public radio.

“We also have a lesson to learn, to remind everyone: We exited too quickly from the third wave. We thought we beat the coronavirus, and then the Delta variant came in the fourth wave,” he said. “We need to do it slowly, carefully, keeping in mind a fifth wave, chalilah.”

But the Coronavirus Cabinet is expected to approve easing a number of remaining restrictions in the coming days, according to media reports.

Among the recommendations, officials are reportedly considering abolishing the restrictions on large outdoor gatherings that set limits of between 1,000 and 5,000 participants, and limits on event halls of 400 people in closed spaces and 500 in open spaces, once the average daily new case rate drops to below 1,000.