WHO Special Envoy Criticizes Travel Restrictions

Category: Transportation

WHO Special Envoy Criticizes Travel Restrictions


An official with the World Health Organization chided politicians this week, telling global leaders to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method.”

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr. David Nabarro, WHO’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, told the British magazine The Spectator. “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Nabarro actually pointed out travel, specifically, as a reason why the industry is suffering financially as a result of lockdowns and restrictions. When the virus began appearing as early as January, President Trump began restricting travel to China where the coronavirus originated. Some nine months later, Americans still can’t travel to Europe, and Canada and Mexico have closed their borders to the U.S.

Caribbean islands are only lately beginning to reopen.

"Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,” Nabarro said. “Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. ... Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

Even in the U.S. individual travel restrictions remain. New York for instance is mandating that visitors who reside in 35 states and territories must first quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York.

Nabarro also noted the emotional and mental strain the virus is taking, according to a petition signed by hundreds of physicians.

"As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection,” read the petition, known as the Great Barrington Declaration. "Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health."

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