The World Health Organization’s top COVID-19 specialist is warning countries about using lockdowns as a primary means of controlling the virus, arguing the strategy could have a devastating impact on economies and the poor.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” WHO Director General Dr. David Nabarro told the British magazine The Spectator.

Nabarro said the lockdowns – which have been a primary means of stopping the spread of the virus for roughly the past seven months – is hurting the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

Nabarro also projected the pandemic and efforts to slow its spread might result in a doubling of world poverty by next year and “at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

He argued that countries that rely on tourism have been hardest hit by lockdowns, pointing to the Caribbean.

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