Covid-19 restrictions should not damage economies, says WHO envoy

According to the WHO envoy, the kind of decisions that individual governments ought to be making should be based on the best possible science.
Covid-19 restrictions should not damage economies, says WHO envoy

Vivienne Clarke

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covid-19 envoy, Dr David Nabarro has cautioned that it is important that restrictions do not damage the economies of countries.

Every decision on restrictions needed to weigh up the options to avoid the risk of leading to the paralysis of societies or economies, he said.

“Yes you want to try to make sure that people are isolating for long enough to reach a point where they're no longer infectious,” he told Newstalk’s Late Breakfast show.

“On the other hand, you want to be sure that you get as many people as possible back to work - or back into circulation - as you can, and try not to end up with everything just coming to a halt.”

Decisions around testing and isolation should be a compromise, Dr Nabarro said.

“These represent very careful efforts by politicians to find a compromise - and we understand that, we accept that,” he explained.

According to the WHO envoy, the kind of decisions that individual governments ought to be making should be based on the best possible science.

"So we are not taking a firm line on whether or not it's right for a country to be reducing their isolation period,” he added.

Dr Nabarro also praised Ireland for its efforts on vaccine equity.

“I applaud the efforts of your Government, your Taoiseach and others - and I hope we can see more of this pressure,” he said.

“Unless it's fair, it's not right - and unless it's right, we won't get on top of this pandemic. I really believe that it's countries like Ireland that can play a major role in bringing larger nations up to confronting the reality that we need to do this fairly.”

However, he said he was concerned about countries where populism had taken control, where “leaders are just simply looking at ratings in their polling in certain kinds of newspapers and are using that to guide policy”.

“It's so short-sighted,” he concluded.

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