WHO's Covid expert cautions about lockdowns, saying hurting economies, the world's poorest

"We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus," said the organization's special envoy on COVID-19 Dr. David Nabarro

Updated: October 12, 2020 - 6:13pm

The World Health Organization’s top COVID-19 specialist is warning countries about using lockdowns as a primary means of controlling the virus, arguing the strategy could have a devastating impact on economies and the poor.

"We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus," Dr. David Nabarro told the British magazine The Spectator.

Nabarro said the lockdowns — which have been widely adopted as a central tool for stopping the spread of the virus for roughly the past seven months — is hurting the world's most vulnerable communities. 

"Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer," he said.

Nabarro also projected the pandemic and efforts to slow its spread might result in a doubling of world poverty by next year and "at least a doubling of child malnutrition."

He argued that countries that rely on tourism have been hardest hit by lockdowns, pointing to the Caribbean.

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