WHO warns of COVID-19 lockdowns due to economic damage

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The World Health Organization has warned leaders against using COVID-19 lockdowns to tackle epidemics – after previously saying countries should be careful how quickly they reopen.WHO envoy Dr David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be addressed as a last resort, UK magazine The Spectator reported in a video interview.

“We at the World Health Organization are not advocating lockdowns as the primary means of controlling this virus,” Nabarro said.

“The only time we think a lockdown is justified is to give you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but overall we prefer not to. to do.

Nabarro said there was significant damage caused by strict restrictions, especially on the global economy.

“Lockouts have only one consequence that you should never belittle, and that makes the poor much poorer,” he said.

He added that the lockdowns have severely affected countries that depend on tourism.

“You just have to look at what happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or the Pacific because people don’t take their vacations,” Nabarro told the outlet.

“Look what happened to smallholders around the world. Look at what is happening to the poverty levels. It looks like we might have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition. ”

The United Nations agency had previously warned countries against lifting lockdowns too early during the first wave of the virus.

“The last thing a country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again due to a resurgence,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

But Tedros had urged countries to step up other measures, including widespread testing and contact tracing, so they can reopen safely and avoid future lockdowns.

“We have to achieve a sustainable situation in which we have adequate control of this virus without completely ending our lives, or going from lockdown to lockdown – which has an extremely damaging impact on societies,” he said. declared.

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