Lifting coronavirus lockdown measures too early could spark a "deadly resurgence" in infections, the World Health Organization chief has warned.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be cautious about easing restrictions, even as some struggle with the economic impact.
He said there had been a "welcome slowing" of the epidemics in some European countries.
But there is an "alarming acceleration" in other countries including in Africa.
Globally there are 1.6 million cases of coronavirus and 97,000 deaths.
Dr Tedros said the WHO was working with countries to form strategies for easing restrictions.
"I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone," he told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
"At the same time, 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."
It comes as the government in Spain, one of the world's worst-hit countries, prepares to allow some non-essential workers in sectors including construction and factory production to return to their jobs on Monday.
Spain recorded its lowest daily death toll in 17 days on Friday, with 605 people dying. According to the latest figures, Spain has now registered 15,843 deaths related to the virus.
However, the government has urged people to continue to uphold social distancing rules as the country celebrates the Easter weekend.
- Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has announced his country's lockdown measures will be extended until 5 May
- The UK government is under pressure to explain how curbs could eventually be lifted but says lockdown restrictions will remain until evidence shows the peak has passed
- South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said late on Thursday that the country's 21-day lockdown would be extended for a further 2 weeks – a move Read More – Source