UNICEF, the United Nations Emergency Fund, has warned that lockdowns could kill more people than COVID-19, predicting 1.2 million deaths for children.
The warning came at a time when doctors around the world also called on governments not to relent on providing sufficient funds to the World Health Organization, WHO, warning that withholding funds to the organization as this time of a pandemic was neither helpful nor safe.
This warning came ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly which begins tomorrow.
UNICEF noted that “indiscriminate lockdowns were an ineffective way to control COVID-19 and could contribute to a 45 percent rise in child mortality.”
It contended further the risk of children dying from malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea in developing countries was spiralling due to the pandemic and “far outweighs any threat presented by the coronavirus.’’
In an interview with The Telegraph in London, Health Chief at UNICEF, Dr Stefan Peterson, warned that the blanket lockdowns imposed in many low- and middle-income countries were not an effective way to control COVID-19 and could have fatal repercussions.
“Indiscriminate lockdown measures do not have an optimal effect on the virus,” he told The Telegraph. “If you’re asking families to stay at home in one room in a slum, without food or water, that won’t limit virus transmission. “I’m concerned that lockdown measures have been copied between countries for lack of knowing what to do, rarely with any contextualisation for the local situation.
“One size fits no one. The objective is to slow the virus, not to lockdown people. We need to lift our eyes and look at the total picture of public health.’’
The modeling projected that India would see the largest number of additional deaths in children under the age of five and maternal mortality, followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Indonesia.