INTERNATIONAL

Respect people’s rights during quarantines: UN

Governments using lockdowns and quarantines to fight the deadly new coronavirus must ensure people’s rights are respected and avoid unintended consequences, the UN rights chief said on Friday.

Michelle Bachelet said the response to COVID-19 must place human dignity and rights at its centre. Her office said lockdowns, quarantines and similar measures “should always be carried out in strict accordance with human rights standards and in a way that is necessary and proportionate”.

Ms. Bachelet’s comments came as the number of people infected worldwide neared 1,00,000 across 85 nations, with more than 3,300 lives lost.

“As a medical doctor, I understand the need for a range of steps to combat COVID-19, and as a former head of government, I understand the often difficult balancing act when hard decisions need to be taken,” Ms. Bachelet said. “However, our efforts to combat this virus won’t work unless we approach it holistically.”

She said the most vulnerable must be protected, particularly those with low incomes and older people.

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