A COVID-19 envoy appointed by Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appealed to world leaders to stop resorting to lockdown to control the pandemic.
Dr David Nabarro, who has spent his career working for the WHO and the United Nations (UN), seems to have marked a departure from the global health body’s early stance on the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about the economic and social consequences of lockdown as a means of controlling the spread of the disease.
On Sunday, Dr Nabarro appealed to world leaders to stop ‘using lockdowns as your primary control method’, insisting that such drastic measures can have a dire impact on global poverty rates.
Speaking to The Spectator, the British doctor stated: ‘We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.
‘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.’
Dr Nabarro went on to say that developing economies had been indirectly affected by lockdown measures, adding: ‘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.
‘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.’
Dr Nabarro continued: ‘Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.’
He concluded: ‘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.’