The World Health Organization (WHO) appears to have changed its thinking in a key area of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
With countries around the world grappling with the prospect of more isolation time, one expert has said that a full lockdown is not the way to go.
Dr. David Nabarro, a special envoy to the WHO Director General for Covid-19, has argued that “too many restrictions damage people’s livelihoods and provoke resentment”.
He also told The Viewer that “at the World Health Organization we do not advocate bans as the primary means of combating this virus.”
This is a small change in tone from the summer when Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said a lockdown might be the only option.
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“We all want to avoid that entire countries are completely blocked again,” he said during a press conference. ‘This is not a wish anyone has. But there may be situations when this is the only option. ‚
But Dr. Nabarro is now advocating a “middle ground” approach that balances controlling the spread of the virus and allowing people to continue to live and work.
“Physical distancing, proper face masking, hand / cough / surface hygiene, self-isolation from illness and protection of the most vulnerable,” he wrote. ‘There should be no exceptions anywhere. This is best achieved by involving and trusting people, rather than coercion when possible. ‚
‘It is important that there is enough testing capacity to detect the virus, detect spikes and manage voltage spikes. From time to time, the movement has to be limited locally for a short time in order to suppress outbreaks. [NB Building public health capacity is not the same as implementing lockdowns. It is about building up the capability of public health services to interrupt transmission in localities. Experience around the world shows that this capability is key to a successful COVID responses. Lockdowns just freeze the virus in pace they do not lead to elimination]. ‚
Dr. Nabarro warns that even if vaccines appear in the next few months, it will be many and even years before they are available to everyone.
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