World Health Organisation Changes Stance on COVID-19 Lockdowns

WHO Lockdown

In a recent interview with The Spectator, The World Health Organisation has changed its tact on how best to handle COVID-19, with the WHO’s own Dr. David Nabarro urging world leaders to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method” when dealing with COVID-19.

The statements come amid an ongoing global debate as to what the correct protocol is for handling COVID-19. Countries like New Zealand are currently being lauded for their strict lockdowns and low death counts, while many are watching eagerly to see how countries like Sweden – who have hardly implemented any social distancing measures – will perform over the long term.

In his interview with The Spectator, Nabarro said that “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

“We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” the doctor added.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Ensuring the healthcare system wouldn’t become overburdened was the primary purpose of “flattening the curve” as was discussed widely throughout March of this year, however, Dr. Nabarro argues that the continued lockdowns have had disproportionate effects on poorer countries.

“Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,” he said.

“Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. … Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

“And so, we really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method. Develop better systems for doing it. Work together and learn from each other.”

This notion of growing economic inequality due to the COVID-19 lockdowns has been widely discussed, and something that we have covered previously at Australians.News. Alongside wealth inequality, conditions such as depression, suicide and spikes in crime often occur.

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Having received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Macquarie University, Louis’ writing spans across cultural, social and political issues. Louis' work has been shared in Benzinga, FinFeed, The Green Fund, The Startup, The Quarry Journal, Independent Australia and Online Opinion.