COVID-19: Winners and losers
Director General, WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised governments imposing lockdown restrictions to provide palliatives for their citizens to enable them to comply.

‘How do you survive on lockdown when you depend on your daily labor to eat?” WHO’s director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, asked at a press briefing in Geneva on Monday.

Ghebreyesus said he was aware some governments were trying to impose, extend and lift restrictions but added that it should not be at the expense of human rights.

He also said that for countries with large poor populations, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the stay-at-home order used in some high income countries may not be practicable.

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The DG said it was because most of them were already living in overcrowded conditions with few resources and little access to health care.

He also said that 1.4 billion children who were not in school due to the lockdown stand the risk of being abused.

“News reports from around the world describes how many people are in danger of being left without access to food.

“We also call on all countries to ensure that where lockdown measures are used, they must not be at the expense of human rights. Each Government must assist their situation while protecting all their citizens, especially the most vulnerable,” he said.

But he warned that either way, the lockdown should be lifted slowly, not immediately. He also urged everyone to keep complying with the public health advisory on COVID-19.

Speaking further, he said, “Some countries and communities have now endured several weeks of social and economic lockdown. Some countries are considering when they can lift the lockdown, others are considering whether and when to introduce them.

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“In both cases, this decision must be based first and foremost on protecting human health and guided by what we know about the virus and how it behaves. Control measures must be lifted slowly, it cannot happen all at once.”