Lockdowns Should Be ‘Very, Very Last Resort,’ WHO Says

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The World Health Organization’s European office warned governments against implementing full-scale lockdowns Thursday as news cases continue spiking.

Instead of lockdowns, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge recommended targeted measures, according to CNBC. New coronavirus cases in Europe have been steadily increasing in recent weeks causing nations to begin implementing renewed restrictions.

“A proportional and targeted response is the way forward,” Kluge said Thursday, CNBC reported. “Measures or tightening up in many countries in Europe … are appropriate and necessary responses to what the data is telling us.” (RELATED: ‘A Tipping Point’: Europe Overtakes US In New Coronavirus Cases)

He continued: “It is never too late (to tighten measures) but of course, definitely, we are concerned. In general, this is the time to step up the restrictive measures … with lockdowns as a very, very last resort. We know much better than in March what can, and needs, to be done.”

A woman walks among thousands of Spanish flags, representing the Spanish victims of coronavirus, on Patacona beach in Valencia, on Oct. 4. (Jose Jordan/AFP via Getty Images)

Kluge echoed WHO special envoy on coronavirus Dr. David Nabarro who said Friday that lockdowns should not be the “primary control method” for governments around the world, according to The Spectator.

“We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method,” Nabarro told The Spectator.

The European Union (EU) averaged 78,000 new cases per day, or 152 new cases per million citizens, in the week ending Oct. 12. That figure marked the first time since the spring that the EU recorded more cases per million in a week than the U.S.

The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern in January and a pandemic in March.

In recent weeks, European countries have followed Kluge’s recommendations opting for targeted shutdown measures rather than the sweeping countrywide shutdowns, according to the BBC. Measures include restrictions on restaurant hours in Berlin, Germany, limits on large gatherings in the Italian province of Latina and face mask mandates in Athens, Greece, for example.

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