Dr. David Nabarro
Dr. David NabarroREUTERS

A senior World Health Organization officials is urging world leaders to avoid using lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that such measures should only be used in extreme cases.

In an interview with The Spectator, World Health Organization coronavirus envoy Dr. David Nabarro said the WHO opposes the use of lockdowns, except in cases where countries’ health services have been completely overwhelmed.

"We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus," Dr. Nabarro said.

"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."

Dr. Nabarro went on to criticize the use of lockdowns, noting the extreme economic damage they cause, particularly to the most vulnerable sectors of a given population.

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

“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."

Nabarro went on to call lockdowns and the accompanying economic damage a “ghastly global catastrophe”.

“This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe, actually. And so, we really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method. Develop better systems for doing it.”

Nabarro’s comments come following a wave of public support by scientists and physicians for the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for a termination of lockdowns.

"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," the Declaration reads in part.

"Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health."

The Declaration was drawn up by Sunetra Gupta of the University of Oxford Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University.

Since its publication on October 4th, the Declaration has been signed by more than 60,000 people, including 6,500 physicians and scientists.