This article was originally published here
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 30;18(1):E217. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18010217.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments swiftly decided to order nationwide lockdowns based on limited evidence that such extreme measures were effective in containing the epidemic. A growing concern is that governments were given little time to adopt effective and proportional interventions protecting citizens’ lives while observing their freedom and rights. This paper examines the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in containing COVID-19, by conducting a linear regression over 108 countries, and the implication for human rights. The regression results are supported by evidence that shows the change in 10 selected countries’ responding strategies and their effects as the confirmed cases increase. We found that school closures are effective in containing COVID-19 only when they are implemented along with complete contact tracing. Our findings imply that to contain COVID-19 effectively and minimize the risk of human rights abuses, governments should consider implementing prudently designed full contact tracing and school closure policies, among others. Minimizing the risk of human rights abuses should be a principle even when full contact tracing is implemented.