No more lockdowns, the price is too high, warns top WHO disease tracker
Dr Maria van Kerkhove says they never backed shutdowns, and now it’s time for localised strategies
The World Health Organisation has urged countries not to reimpose national lockdowns in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19 due to social and economic repercussions.
In an exclusive interview, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who helps lead the WHO’s pandemic response team as the head of the emerging diseases unit, said countries should instead adopt localised strategies.
By the end of March, as the outbreak spiralled out of control across the globe, well over 100 countries had imposed a full or partial lockdown, affecting billions of people. Van Kerkhove described these measures as a “blunt, sheer-force instrument” that bought countries time to build the infrastructure needed to tackle Covid-19. But reflecting on events since the WHO declared a global health emergency six months ago – when fewer than 8,000 cases and 170 deaths had been reported – she added that the economic, health and social costs of lockdown have been “massive”...