Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
15 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Government should not set dates for lifting lockdown measures, WHO says

By Samuel Horti

The UK government should not give specific dates for lifting lockdown restrictions until a system for tracking and isolating new infections is in place, the World Health Organisation’s coronavirus special envoy has said.

“Other countries are saying very clearly: we want to make sure that the capacity to test, trace and isolate is present throughout our country before we really start lifting the restrictions on movement,” David Nabarro told the BBC.

“And I suppose my request to all countries is that rather than giving precise dates, they say: we’ll release the lockdowns when we know that we’ve got the defence mechanisms in place, when we know that our people understand the severity of this virus, and what we’ve got to do and when we’ve made sure that, in the settings where the virus is most easily transmitted, we’ve put in place the best possible protection to keep those at risk most safe.”

The government set out rough dates for different phases of lifting lockdown on Monday.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Nabarro also advised anyone with cardiovascular disease or diabetes to be especially careful. “And it is not so much that I want them to be shielded, it is just that I want them to be given the necessary advice and encouragement to be able to keep their distance from other people,” he said.

(Image credit: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)