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The World Health Organisation warned leaders against COVID-19 lockdowns as they could cause significant harm to the economy. WHO envoy Dr David Nabarro told the Spectator: “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” Despite this, Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for a two to three-week lockdown in the UK to get control of the increasing cases.
Speaking to Sky News, Labour MP Anneliese Dodds said: “We are right now facing rising infections across the whole country, not just those parts of the country under those additional restrictions.
“We’re seeing them rising everywhere across the UK. We know that unless action is taken we will continue to see those rising restrictions.
“As I mentioned before more parts of the country are coming under localised restrictions and the government being forced to take more action later in the year.
“That would be much more costly so we need to face up to these challenges now.”
But presenter Mark Austin interjected: “You made that point.
“But even the World Health Organisation is saying, as a primary tool, lockdowns should be avoided because they say fundamentally it makes the poor poorer.
“You’re not in the business are you of making the poor poorer?”
The Labour MP continued: “The reason why the WHO have said that is because they have consistently have been clear that the way to get a grip on this virus is through effective systems of test, trace and isolate.
“Labour has been calling on government for months now since the beginning of this crisis to ensure those systems are adequate right across the country.
“Sadly, we know we are not where we need to be.”
Rishi Sunak has warned a second national lockdown would create “significant damage” to people’s lives and livelihoods.
The Chancellor took a firm stance against a nationwide shutdown, claiming such a move would hit jobs, businesses, and children’s education while also causing “permanent damage” to the economy.
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In turn, this would “undermine” funding for the NHS and public services in the long-term, Mr Sunak added.
He repeatedly defended the Government’s new three-tier alert level system for England after Labour pushed for a short circuit-breaker lockdown to help combat Covid-19.
Labour also demanded greater support for the north of England, the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they deal with extra restrictions.
The Opposition’s Commons motion added the job support scheme should be reformed to incentivise employers to keep staff on, fix “gaps” in support for the self-employed and extend the ban on evictions.
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