A special envoy on COVID-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. David Nabarro, believes national lockdowns should only be used as a secondary measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Guardian reports that Dr. Nabarro warned about the effectiveness of introducing nationwide lockdowns in containing the spread of COVID-19 as a long-term approach. He also highlighted the impact that restrictive measures can have on citizens’ lives.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across Europe this week, France introduced their second nationwide lockdown and other European countries will introduce tighter restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the country would enter a second national lockdown, effective from Friday, October 30. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel also enforced new restrictions on households mixing in Germany that come into place on Monday, November 2.
Italy has introduced tighter measures, including curfews on bars and restaurants, in addition to the closure of leisure venues. The impact of these new rules led to unrest amongst Italian citizens, as The Inquisitr reported recently.
Despite more governments introducing stricter rules as cases of the novel coronavirus rise across the world, Nabarro explained that national lockdowns have “a very extreme restriction on economic and social life” and don’t help with eliminating COVID-19 in the long term.
“You don’t want to use those as your primary, and I stress that, primary, means of containment. Because in the end living with the virus as a constant threat means maintaining the capacity to find people with the disease and isolating them,” Nabarro explained.
As an alternative, Nabarro argues that testing and trace measures to identify hotspots where the virus is spreading most remain the most effective in controlling increasing outbreaks of COVID-19.
In the U.K., this approach has helped in “levelling up” the rise of cases in the northern areas, but “southern parts of the UK are speeding up” where restrictions aren’t as strict and people across households continue to mix.
“With lockdown still the reserve that you use to take the heat out of the system when things are really bad,” he said.
Nearly 45 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide and over 1 million have died as a result of COVID-19.