A World Health Organisation expert has warned against more national lockdowns due to their massive social, health and economic impacts…
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove urged countries not to reimpose any further national lockdowns, but to focus on localised strategies instead. These localised strategies should form part of governments’ efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
While initial lockdowns “bought time” for countries to prepare health services for the pandemic, the economic toll and social costs were ‘massive’ she told The Telegraph.
“Lockdowns are not something that WHO recommended, but they needed to be used in a number of countries because the outbreaks were growing so quickly,” Dr Van Kerkhove said. “But we’re hopeful that countries will not need to implement national lockdowns again.”
Dr Van Kerkhove is an American infectious disease epidemiologist. She specialises in emerging infectious diseases and is based in the Health Emergencies Programme at the World Health Organization (WHO). She is the technical lead of COVID-19 response and the head of emerging diseases and zoonosis unit at WHO.
South Africa’s lockdown
After facing an initial 21-day hard lockdown, an extension, and now the gradual easing of restrictions, South Africa has hit day 107 of “lockdown”. Positive Covid-19 cases have surpassed the half-million mark. The current recovery rate is 67.9%.
According to a report by the Development Bank In South Africa (DBSA), “In South Africa, the easing of the lockdown restrictions in June 2020 has enabled the resumption of more economic activities. However, infections continue to rise at an alarming rate in South Africa. Coupled with the economic recession, earlier credit ratings downgrades and low commodity prices, risks remain elevated. DBSA as a key stakeholder in economic development has set aside R150m towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The continued ban on alcohol sales is causing devastation in the hospitality industry, with hundreds of restaurants and entertainment venues being forced to close their doors.
Thanks @Telegraph for the interesting conversation
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) August 2, 2020
What should countries do instead of hard lockdown?
In her interview with The Telegraph, Dr Van Kerkhove said countries should instead adopt localised strategies to target clusters of infections.