Ex-WHO head insists tiered restrictions won't stop Covid spread

17 October 2020, 12:05

Ex-WHO chief on viability of new lockdowns

By Seán Hickey

This public health expert argued that a circuit breaker lockdown may be necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus, and would be more effective than the new tiered system.

"I don't think it's going to work, I don't think Tory MPs think it's going to work," Professor Anthony Costello, former head of the World Health Organisation said of the Government's new tiered coronavirus strategy.

Matt noted that the debate surrounding the effectiveness of the new lockdown strategy is almost "the same conversation we were having eight months ago" over the first lockdown.

Professor Costello noted that "we ended up losing 20% of our GDP" because of a poor response to Covid-19 in the beginning of the pandemic. He argued that the nation is still ill-prepared to effectively tackle the spread of the virus.

He told Matt that the Government must work to reform the find test trace isolate system, as it is still not effective enough to play a part in our fight against the virus.

"The alternative is to let the whole thing spread," he warned.

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Matt brought the conversation onto restrictions in the North of England and wondered what Professor Costello thought of the Mayor of Manchester standing defiant against restrictions.

He wondered if Andy Burnham "holding out against the government is costing lives." The former WHO chief said he could understand the stance of the mayor.

"You're going to see large numbers of people falling into poverty," he noted, and told Matt he could understand why this could be a priority for Mr Burnham

He added that "they all agree up north that a circuit breaker is necessary now," and offering his view, Professor Costello felt a circuit breaker could help stop the spread.

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